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From the time when they are first offered to the child for study, 
the facts of production and trade have been listed rather than in- 
terpreted. The books which have dealt with these matters have been 
prevailingly of a statistical nature, and the study of what they have 
had to give has too often reduced itself to a mere mnemonic exercise. 
And yet there are behind the facts of trade, as behind all facts, cer- 
tain principles about which they can be grouped, and which serve to 
lend them life and meaning ; and it is interpretation rather than 
arbitrary memorizing which is of educational importance. It is the 
reference to principles which tends to fix knowledge in the mind in 
a vital way ; the principles form the nucleus about which a command 
of data can be extended. 

The interpretation of the facts of trade calls for the inclusion of 
principles of many kinds. The popular persuasion that trade is a 
thing to be manipulated through laws, regulations, and the like has 
in it undoubtedly a considerable show of truth ; but it is certainly the 
most superficial and least scientific view of the matter. Again, it is 
true enough that other social factors, in addition to the political, have 
entered largely into the controlling of trade, and so must not be neg- 
lected in the interpretation of its data. But the complexity of these 
social influences is so great that it is difficult to make an educational 
beginning with them. Nor are they the only factors that exercise a 
determinative influence upon exchange ; there are controls in phys- 
ical nature that are more concrete and simple of apprehension, and 
which have been, and still are, of great ultimate importance in the 
molding of trade, and, indeed, of human affairs in general. These, 
for want of a better and comprehensive term, might be called the 
environmental (or geographical) factors; they cover man's and so- 
ciety's relations with the whole natural environment. 

In writing the present book the authors have been actuated by the 
desire to cover this series of relations — a series which, we are con- 
vinced, has received too little of systematic attention. Manv books 


dealing historically or scientifically with man and human society 
seem to us to have taken a partial, though perfectly natural, view of 
their subject when they have emphasized what the political or in- 
dustrial organization has done for man, to the virtual exclusion of the 
influences of natural environment. That such a point of view was 
inevitable lies in the tendency of man to keep his eye fixed upon 
his own prowess and achievements rather than upon the limitations 
within which he must live and move all his days. It is not so much 
that the influences of natural environment are denied, as that they 
are ignored, or referred, at least, to the crude and distant past. Most 
intelligent persons would doubtless grant at once the great majority 
of the contentions which we shall set forth. Hence it is the trend 
of the chapters which are to follow, the collocation of many things 
accepted and some not so familiar, the attempt in our chosen way to 
infuse orderliness and sequence into the chaotic data and statistics of 
trade, which constitute the new departure in our treatment. We are 
not aware, at least, of any treatise in the English language which 
seeks systematically to bring together for the student the natural 
environment, the man, and the man's works. 

Among the works of man we virtually confine ourselves to ex 
change, and to such extensions into the general field of societal life 
as are called for in the development of that topic. Strictly speaking, 
we present a medley of facts and conclusions which belong in part 
to physical geography, in part to anthropology, and in part to indus- 
trial history. We have fixed our attention upon trade rather than 
upon the societal organization as a whole, both because the interpreta- 
tion of commercial data was that with which we started, and because 
we believe that in the content and streams of trade there appears, 
as it were, a sort of epitome of human doings in the struggle for 
existence — what men produce and what they want, in this place and 
in that. The simplest and primary organization in this struggle for 
existence is that of industry, involving the exchange of the products 
of industry ; and we do not wish to go systematically beyond that in 
the present instance. Having in view, then, the influence of physical 
environment upon the most fundamental and material of human activi- 
ties, we think that the study of the currents of exchange, involving, 
as that must, the consideration of the prime economic functions of 
production, consumption, and distribution, sets us in the midst of the 
issues upon which we hope to throw light. 


For these reasons we have called this book " Physical and Com- 
mercial Geography." If there were some word meaning ' science of 
environment," it might well have appeared on the title-page ; but we 
have retained the better-known terms largely because of the very fact 
that they are more familiar, thinking it more profitable to try to in- 
troduce a more scientific character into what already exists than to 
seek the academic isolation of a new and unfamiliar term. Especially 
is the term " commercial geography " somewhat altered in our usage : 
it is widened to include something more than description ; and it 
may seem to be narrowed in that no attempt has been made to se- 
cure an encyclopedic array of commercial data. We have consistently 
treated of types, and have renounced detail where multiplication of 
instances threatened perspective. For instance, in Part III, while re- 
taining the old division by countries, we do not attempt to assemble 
exhaustive lists of the products of each country ; under the basic 
political division — the only one yet practicable — our treatment is 
topical, a short monograph upon each preeminent article of com- 
merce occurring under the general politico-geographical section which 
leads in the production or use of the article in question. 

In the attempt systematically to correlate various phases of the 
natural and social sciences we can scarcely hope to have made more 
than a beginning. When more facts and relations shall have been 
collected by the natural scientists on the one side, and the social 
scientists on the other, it will be easier to construct a more consistent 
and orderly network of interrelationships. The chapters of this book 
will admit of much amplification in the class room before the conten- 
tions which we sustain, and their many corollaries, can be conceived 
in their full perspective. But we venture to believe that the instances 
needed to amplify (or to correct) our general contentions will meet 
the instructor, as they have met us in our years of teaching along 
the lines here laid down, at every turn. 

When used as a college text, the course to which this book would 
correspond we conceive to be one linking together the natural and 
social sciences, and providing a fundamental set of ideas and prin- 
ciples touching human life-conditions that should be of use to one 
who might later pursue the study of the natural sciences, the social 
sciences, or history. For these same reasons we hope that what we 
have to present may prove to be of value to the general reader. As a 
text-book, however, besides adhering to arrangement and perspective 


rather than to the development of detail, and besides leaving large 
latitude to the teacher, the present volume aims to attain certain 
pedagogical ends. The pages are spread with cross references in 
the hope that the teacher may profit by our own practice of keeping 
constantly before the student what he has already studied in other 
connections. It is assumed that the student or reader who uses this 
book has at hand some standard atlas of physical, historical, and 
political maps, and that these maps are used as an essential part of 
the study. We strongly recommend also exercises involving map 
construction, map location, and the use of inexpensive outline maps 
for representation of data regarding topographic and climatic details, 
distribution of products, of industries, and of man. 

The triple authorship, corresponding practically to the three Parts 
of this book, expresses graphically our belief that the facts and princi- 
ples involved in a study of the environmental relations of man require 
contributions from both the natural and the social sciences, and are 
best presented by a combination of workers from these two fields. 
Therefore while each author is directly responsible for the presenta- 
tion of material from his particular field, the outline and general 
character of treatment is the joint work of the three authors. General 
editorial supervision has been exercised by the author of Part II. 

Thanks are due to Dr. Bowman and Dr. Huntington for sugges- 
tions and for corrections made upon the proofs. And we remember 
with gratitude and affection the helpful interest in our ideas and work 
displayed by the late Professor Edward G. Bourne, For permission 
to reproduce illustrations, in modified form, we express our sense of 
obligation to Professors Tarr and Dryer, the National Geographic 
Magazine, and the United States Geological Survey. The leading 
sources followed have been referred to here and there ; but we have 
not sought to equip with full bibliographical apparatus a book which 
deals so largely with information easily accessible in unworked form. 
It is hardly necessary to say that we have made consistent use of the 
valuable publications of the several government departments, both of 
this country and of Canada — the Weather Bureau, Coast and Geodetic 
Survey, Geological Survey, Department of Commerce and Labor, 
Department of Agriculture, and so on. 


\ k\y f I a v EN , Con n ecticut 


Chapter Pages 


I. Ocean, Coast Line, and Harbor 3-33 

II. Topography — Physiography of the United States . 34-65 

MIL Son 66-76 

IV. Water of the Lands 77-91 

V. Atmosphere and Climate i"-. 92-119 

VI. The Organic Environment \r . .' 120-123 


Introductory Note 125 

VII. Human Adaptation. Environmental Influences: 

Climate 126-142 u 

VIII. Environmental Influences: Flora and Fauna, etc. 143-161 - 

IX. Environmental Influences : Topography, Water, etc. i 62- 1 79 

X. Distribution of the Agents of Trade 1 80-1 91 

XI. Nature of Trade. Its Routes and Stations . . . 192-21 1 

XII. Antecedents of Modern Trade 212-222 

XIII. Trade and the Advancement of Civilization . . . 223-231 

XIV. Trade Manipulation. Summary of Part II ... . 232-248 


Introductory Note 249-251 


XV. Vegetable Products 252-280 

XVI. Animal Products 281-295 

XVII. Mineral Products 296-310 - 

XVIII. Manufactures 311-321 

XIX. Transportation 322-338 

XX. Commerce 339-343 

XXI. Foreign Possessions 344-35° 


XXII. The British Isles 351-372 

XXIII. The Dominion of Canada 373-3^3 

XXIV. Australasia 384-394 

XXV. India 395-403 

XXVI. South Africa 404-409 


XXVII. Germany 410-421 

XXVIII. Miscellaneous Products 422-435 

APPENDIX (Tables I-XXIII) 437-443 

INDEX 445-469 


Figure P AGK 

i. Mouth of the Mersey and Port of Liverpool 13 

2. Map of Provincetown Harbor 22 

3. New York Harbor 24 

4. San Francisco Harbor 25 

5. Galveston Harbor 26 

6. New Orleans Harbor 28 

7. Ireland Island Harbor, Bermuda 29 

8. San Pedro Harbor 30 

9. Delta of the Rhone 31 

10. Harbors of the Connecticut Coast 32,33 

11. Delta of the Hwang-ho 42 

12. Relief Map of the Lower Colorado 43 

13. Distribution of Population in Utah 47 

1 4. Length of Growing Season in the United States 60 

15. Physiographic Provinces of the United States 62 

1 6. Types of Rainfall in the United States 63 

17. Influence of Topography on Temperature 10 1 

18. Relation of Topography to Rainfall .106 

19. Zones of Temperature 108 

20. Isolation of Africa 176 

21. Trade Areas and Routes 196 

22. Trade between Zones (schematic) 219 

23. Production of Corn in the United States, 1850- 1900 . . . 257 

24. Cotton-Producing Areas of the United States 267 

25. Production of Iron Ore, Pig Iron, and Steel in the United 

States, 1870- 1906 298 

26. Development of the World's Gold Production since 1493 . . 301 

Plate I. Mediterranean Colonization 

Plate II. Colonial Possessions, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century 
Plate III. Territories of Great Britain, the United States, and 





General Relations 

1. Introductory. From the. standpoint of human history the sea 
is a vast desert occupying seventy-two per cent of the earth's sur- 
face, practically uninhabited, impossible of settlement, to be traversed 
with risk, to be guarded against with care, — a desert whose dangers 
are unconquerable by savage man and offset only in part by the inven- 
tions of civilized races (cf. §§ 139, 192). Its waters rest in a vast 
sunken depression, variable in depth and extremely irregular in out- 
line. It is a continuous water body which appears now in broad, open 
stretches, now minutely interlaced with the projecting land masses. 
Superficially, it is separated into the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the 
Southern oceans ; the Indian and Arctic oceans are examples on a 
large scale of the bays, gulfs, and sounds which extend inland from 
the open sea. 

The distances across these oceans are greater than is generally 
realized. From Morocco to Florida is a distance of 3600 miles, and 
the steamer route from New York to Liverpool is 3000 miles. A 
ship carrying freight from Southampton to Cape Town must travel 
6185 miles, and the usual steamer route from New York to Buenos 
Ayres is one fourth of the circumference of the globe. In the Pacific 
the distances are even more impressive : on the equator it is 10,000 
miles across this ocean, and on the Tropic of Cancer 8500 miles ; it 
is 4750 miles from San Francisco to Yokohama, and in going from 
Vancouver to Hongkong the Pacific mail steamers must cover 6500 
miles. Even Japan is 500 miles distant from China, and Madagascar 


250 miles from the African mainland. Is it, then, any wonder that 
the distribution of plants and animals and the migration of man from 
continent to continent has been so retarded throughout the thousands 
of years of human history, and that each isolated land mass has de- 
veloped its own race types and institutions ? 

The Pacific and Atlantic have played different parts in human 
progress, have controlled the efforts of mankind each in its own 
peculiar way. The reason for the different responses to these two 
oceanic environments is readily understood when their shore lines 
and bordering lands are compared. The Atlantic has 55,000 miles 
of coast line, — more than the Pacific and Indian oceans combined. 
Its shores are indented, furnish abundant harbor sites, and in places 
its waters are inextricably intermingled with the land. Furthermore, 
the lands of the world slope toward the Atlantic, and the great rivers 
of the world drain into this ocean. With an area of 35,000,000 square 
miles, the Atlantic furnishes an outlet for 19,000,000 square miles 
of land drainage, a ratio of approximately 2 to 1, while the Pacific, 
70,000,000 square miles in area, receives drainage from only 8,660,000 
square miles, a ratio of 8 to 1 . Thus it appears, when viewed from a 
commercial standpoint, that the Pacific is a vast sheet of water sepa- 
rating continents whose interiors are inaccessible. The Atlantic, on 
the other hand, is relatively narrow, with near-lying continents and a 
large and easily accessible back country (cf. § 163). 

2. Ocean floor. These salt waters, whose surface extent is so vast, 
extend also to great depths, making a liquid body inconceivably large 
in volume. Its average depth is over 2 miles (11,500 feet) and its 
deepest depression approximates 6 miles, a depth exceeding the 
height of the loftiest Himalayas. 1 Near shore the basins are shallow 
and the continents are fringed by zones of water 10 to 200 miles 
wide, with a depth of less than 100 fathoms. The British Isles are 
on such a continental shelf, and parts of the North Sea are less than 
100 feet in depth, with scarcely water enough to submerge the ordi- 
nary church steeple. This fringe of shallow water determines the 
shore line, and slight elevations and depressions of the sea bottom or 
of coastal lands produce marked effects on the shore. The amount of 
ocean water, though vast, is limited, and if the floor of the Pacific 
were to sink 1000 feet, the sea level throughout the world would drop 
500 feet. Even a change of 50 feet, such as has occurred many 

1 Nero Deep, between Midway and Guam islands, attains a depth of 31,614 feet. It 
was discovered by Admiral Bradford, in 1901, during the survey for a cable line from 
San Francisco to Manila. 


times in recent geological history, would ruin the world's harbors and 
require the relocation of docks, breakwaters, and lighthouses. 

If the waters were removed from this oceanic depression, a surface 
of lowlands, plateaus, plains, and ridges, covered with unconsolidated 
organic and inorganic sediments, would be revealed. The great diver- 
sity of topography, the remarkable variety of cliff and mountain and 
canyon which characterizes the scenery of the land, would, however, 
be lacking, for the prevailing characteristic of submarine landscape 
is monotony. If the ocean bed became the earth's lowlands, the 
present continents would become largely uninhabitable, and an ascent 
from the Atlantic bed to New York would involve scaling summits 
clothed in Alpine snow. Filling the oceanic depression with water 
has diminished heights by half, has lessened extremes of climate, 
and has bound the lands together by a common oceanic highway, 
much easier to traverse than an uninhabited land area of equal size. 

3. Ocean and climate. The temperature of ocean water below 500 
fathoms is uniformly cold, and at 2000 fathoms nearly reaches the 
freezing point ; but the warmth of the surface varies with the lati- 
tude, position of winds, etc., and constitutes one of the controlling 
factors of commerce (cf. §§ 113, 142 ff.). The surface temperature 
in the tropics is 8o°, in the arctics 28 . The daily temperature range 
is less than 2°, the annual range for any one place is rarely over 20 , 
and only in abnormal positions — areas where cold and warm currents 
come into contact — does the range exceed 50 . Such regions are pre- 
vailingly foggy and constitute storm centers, as off Newfoundland, 
Cape of Good Hope, parts of Argentina, and northern Japan. As a 
regulator of climate the ocean is invaluable. It is heated slowly and 
cools slowly ; its currents bring cold water toward the equator and 
carry warm water toward the poles. It tends to keep the air of uni- 
form composition by absorbing and restoring atmospheric gases. Its 
surface allows the development of a regular wind system, and its 
vapors supply the land with rain (§§ 101 ff., 120 ff.). It is a barrier 
to plants and animals and savage man, and, though a highway for 
civilized man, it must be used understandingly. The quickest sailing 
voyage from England to New Zealand is around Cape of Good 
Hope, but from New Zealand to England the voyage is around Cape 
Horn, and the shortest course from Cape Town to Melbourne is 
impracticable (cf. §§ 189-190). 


Movements of Ocean Water — Waves 

4. Introductory. With all the ocean's vastness of depth and ex- 
panse, its conquest by man would be relatively easy if the waters were 
only quiet. Any type of boat could then sail the ocean, and all coast 
lines would furnish available havens. The sea, however, is constantly 
in motion at the surface and in its depths, and no particle of water is 
even for an instant still. Ocean waters are disturbed by gravity, by 
the attraction of the moon and sun, by winds, and by changes of tem- 
perature, and though some of the resulting movements are regular 
and predictable, — seasonal, annual, daily, — others are entirely un- 
known in time and extent and place. Even at times of calm the 
waters are seen to be in motion, and rollers from some distant storm 
disturb the surface. At St. Helena it is often unsafe for boats to land 
even in fair weather on account of surf generated by storms of the 
North Atlantic thousands of miles away. The world's coast is under 
the control of the sea. Man has learned to escape its most violent 
outbursts by systems of protective works, but its power has not been 
overcome. In order to understand the relation existing between the 
sea and man, it is necessary to consider briefly those manifestations 
which have direct bearing on trade and human settlement. The chief 
activities of the sea with which man is concerned are recognized as 
waves, tides, and currents. 

5. Wave motion. The nature of waves is difficult to realize. Look- 
ing seaward, crests appear to be moving rapidly toward the shore, and 
it seems as if floating particles must be brought swiftly to the land. 
A ship appears helpless in the path of waves large enough to sub- 
merge it and with a speed sufficient to hurl it against the shore. A 
little experience, however, demonstrates the fact that the water form- 
ing waves does not move forward by an amount equal to the lengths 
of the waves, and that ships or other floating objects merely rise and 
fall as the waves pass beneath them. The crest and trough change 
places; the form moves, but no flood of water is directed toward the 
shore. It is a " transference of form, not of substance." Close ex- 
amination shows that the particles of water move in orbits ; each indi- 
vidual particle starts forward, rises, retreats, and falls, completing its 
orbit during the passage of a single wave. A somewhat similar move- 
ment is seen in a field of standing grain over which the wind is 
blowing. The stalks crowd together, bend down, and return to their 
former position, causing a wave motion on the surface, but no real 
change of position. The fact that the wave form progresses whil 



the water remains practically stationary makes it possible to navigate- 
the seas, for if the apparent speed of waves were an actual transfer- 
ence of water, no ship could live, even in fair weather. Even as it is, 
ships are so constructed that their natural period of swing is longer 
than that of any wave which they are likely to meet. Otherwise, the 
roll of the ship would steadily increase, causing it to capsize. In 
times of storms, when the waves follow each other in rapid succes- 
sion, even the most carefully constructed ships roll excessively. 
A case is recorded from the North Sea where waves only 60 feet in 
length and 5 to 6 feet in height caused a 2000-ton steamer to roll 
at an angle of 30 to 40 . 

6. Size, speed, and force of waves. Scoresby 1 recorded waves in 
the Southern Ocean a half mile in length with a period of 23 seconds, 
and Ross measured one 1920 feet long. The largest wave recorded 
in the North Atlantic had a length of 2750 feet, a height of 48 feet, 
and a period of 23 seconds. In general, waves in fair weather on an 
open sea are from 5 to 10 feet high, 50 to 100 feet long, traveling 
at the rate of 10 to 20 miles an hour, — about the speed of a slow- 
freight train. Ordinary storm waves are 15 to 25 feet high, 400 to 
600 feet long, and travel 35 to 40 miles an hour. Hurricane waves, 
with a height of 30 to 40 feet, a length of 500 to 1 500 feet, sometimes 
attain a speed of over 60 miles an hour. Waves of such size, how- 
ever, occur only in the open ocean away from the coast. For safety 
and comfort a ship should be longer than the longest wave it is likely 
to encounter, and the small boats constructed for navigation of bays 
and sounds could not be recommended for transatlantic service. In 
fact, the modern ship is about twice the length of the average wave 
along its path. 

The destruction wrought by waves is dependent upon their size 
and the concentration of their attack. Ordinary waves possess great 
strength, but in time of storm these ridges of water exert power sur- 
passing most other natural forces. Thousands of tons of water, armed 
with fragments of rock, are repeatedly hurled against the mainland. 
It is the force of a gigantic waterfall, increased by the absence of a 
cushion of water upon which to drop. 

Unfortunately, harbor works cannot be designed to meet the ordi- 
nary waves, but must be constructed to withstand the strongest wave 
likely to occur. The average force of waves measured on the English 

1 The height of a wave is measured from trough to crest, its length from crest to 
crest. The period of a wave is the time elapsing between the passage of successive 
crests or troughs. 


coast has been found to be 6 1 1 pounds per square foot in the sum- 
mer months and 2080 pounds per square foot in the winter months. 
On November 20, 1827, a pressure of 6000 pounds (3 tons) per square 
foot was measured and a mass of rock 42 tons in weight was found 
to have been moved 5 feet. Measurements in the North Sea showed 
that a wave 20 feet high struck a blow of 1.23 tons per square foot. 
The force of storm waves on the breakwater at Cherbourg varies 
from 2.67 to 3.5 tons per square foot, and in one case 200 blocks of 
concrete weighing 4 tons each were lifted by the waves and thrown 
over the top of an embankment. Blocks of 12 tons' weight were 
turned upside down, and at Bilbao, in 1894, a block weighing 1700 
tons was dragged from its place and dropped into the water. The 
bearing of these facts on the selection of harbors, plans for protective 
works, designs of ships, and the selection of routes is obvious. 

7. Range of wave work. In the construction of piers, breakwaters, 
and buildings, the dredging of channels and the locating of sea walls, 
it is essential to know the vertical range of wave work, its power be- 
low the normal sea level, and the extent of its sweep above that point. 
The depth of water affected by waves is never great, and, in general, 
may be said to equal the height of the wave. The highest storm wave 
known would scarcely stir the finest sand at a depth of 100 fathoms, 
and breakwaters built of loose stones are found to be practically un- 
affected beyond a depth of 1 5 feet below low tide. 

The presence of tides on a coast line gives the waves greater range, 
enabling them to strike blows higher on the shore and also to reach 
lower levels. Beaches and sea walls ordinarily beyond the reach of 
waves are thus brought within the danger zone. Stormy coasts with 
high tides therefore furnish conditions for the maximum wave work 
and involve the greatest expense for harbor construction. The im- 
portance of this tidal aid is well shown in the case of Galveston. This 
city, lying on a low barrier beach (§ 24), was ordinarily out of the reach 
of the destructive power of the small waves of the Gulf of Mexico. 
But when the water was raised by winds and tides the city was no 
longer safe. Galveston was destroyed by a wave only 4 feet high, 1 
but one which came with great force at a time when the water had 
been raised by on-shore currents and the incoming tide. 2 

1 Monthly Weather Review, September, 1900. 

2 The Galveston hurricane, September, 1900, was one of the severest storms that 
ever occurred in the United States. Property to the value of $30,000,000 was de- 
stroyed and 6000 people lost their lives. To prevent the recurrence of this disaster 
Galveston has constructed, at an enormous expense, a great sea wall 17 feet in 
height and has raised the entire city between 8 and 12 feet. 


8. Seaquakes. The most destructive waves which visit the shore 
line are caused by the dislocation of parts of the earth's surface by 
seaquakes, which are identical in origin and effect with the earth- 
quakes of the land. 1 As observed from shore, the water during a 
seaquake withdraws from the land, then returns with great speed as 
a wall 10, 20, or even 40 feet in height, carrying everything before 
it, — a process which may be several times repeated before the water 
finally subsides. The western coast of South America is particularly 
liable to be visited by these seaquake waves. Harbors at Pisco, 
Arica, Tacna, Iquique, and Pisagua have been repeatedly subject to 
destructive seaquakes of great power. In 1868, and again in 1877, 
northern Chile and southern Peru were visited by waves of the great- 
est intensity, particularly in the neighborhood of Arica, where most 
of the structures in the city were thrown down and ships were washed 
inland as if they were chips. A seaquake in the North Pacific, in 
June, 1896, produced waves 10 to 50 feet high on the northern Japan 
coast, laying waste 175 miles of coast line and causing great destruc- 
tion to buildings and cultivated lands. Ships were crushed or carried 
away and 27,000 people lost their lives. 

9. Wave-made currents. Wind waves may advance parallel with 
the shore, and the water thrown upon the land will then be removed 
by the undertow. If, however, the waves strike the land obliquely, 
there is developed a shore current by which the water is carried 
along the coast line. Rarely does the wave front coincide with the 
coast line, and shore currents are therefore present on all the conti- 
nental borders. This is particularly true in regions of prevailing winds, 
which give a definite trend or " set " to the waters along the shore. 2 

Wave-made shore currents may be sufficiently developed to appear 
as definite streams of water, and, in such cases, they have molded 
the coast line in a characteristic manner. Their presence is indi- 
cated by the wreckage of ships, which rarely comes directly to the 
shore, but drifts along the coast in a definite direction. Wreckage 
from Fire Island is occasionally picked up as far westward as Man- 
hattan Beach, and material is carried northward along almost the 
whole extent of New Jersey. 

1 Such unusual waves are commonly spoken of as tidal waves, but they really 
have no connection with the tides. 

2 In extreme cases large quantities of water are heaped upon the land under the 
influence of unusually strong, constant winds. On October 5, 1864, wind blowing 
shoreward at Calcutta piled up water to a height of 24 feet. The Quinnipiac mead- 
ows at New Haven, usually above high tide, are occasionally flooded by a sea of 
water heaped up by a southwest wind ; and a continuous northeast wind blowing on 
the waters of Lake Erie has been known to render Niagara Falls practically dry. 


These wind-made shore currents, developed directly from waves, 
are responsible for the sand bars and spits and stretches of silt 
which demand the chief attention of the harbor engineer. The set, 
or direction, of these currents, their speed and carrying power, are 
elements of prime importance in harbor location. 

10. Oil on waves. Oil spreads rapidly on water, even against 
strong winds, and by its use the violence of waves may be reduced. 
Many a ship has been saved by the use of oil ; sailing masters are 
instructed in the best methods of applying it. Oil does not prevent 
the formation of waves, but by furnishing a smooth surface to the 
wind reduces its " catch," thus preventing waves from breaking at 
the crest and making it difficult to pile the water to great heights. 
If the crest is not allowed to form, the waves are robbed of their 
destructive power, which is due to the slight but exceedingly rapid 
advance of the top of the water wall. 

Movements of Ocean Water — Tides 

11. Nature and cause of tides. There is a movement of ocean 
water entirely independent of winds and unaffected by temperature 
changes, as a result of which the water rises twice during the day 
and as often withdraws from the land. This is the tide. It is a great 
wave originating in the Southern Ocean, where the attractive force of 
the sun and moon produces its greatest effect. From this place of 
origin two tides are daily propagated over more than 16,000 miles 
of ocean, thousands of miles of bays and estuaries and rivers and 
creeks, a movement which involves every particle of water. This 
wave, where it is unobstructed, is nearly 6000 miles in length, and 
travels at the rate of 500 miles an hour. In water 40 feet deep the 
length decreases to 300 miles and the rate to 25 miles per hour. In 
the shallow parts of the ocean and near shore this great tidal wave 
is converted into a current which rushes through narrow passages, 
blocks bays and estuaries, and, sweeping through channels, develops 
innumerable whirlpools and eddies which may seriously interfere with 
navigation. On gently sloping shores the advance and retreat of the 
tide alternately covers and uncovers large areas of the sea bottom, 
changing the position of the coast line twice each day. 

The essential cause of tidal motion is the attraction of the sun and 
moon, which causes the water to rise as it passes beneath them. The 
moon is much more efficient because, although a small body, it is 
but 240,000 miles distant, while the sun is separated from the earth 


by a stretch of 93,000,000 miles. Under the most favorable condi 
tions for solar influence a tide 2 feet in height would owe 1 .4 feet of 
its elevation to the moon and 0.6 foot to the sun. 1 Twice each month, 
however, the influence of the sun is markedly felt : namely, at new 
and full moon, when the combined activities of sun and moon result 
in making an unusually high tidal wave, — the so-called spring tide ; 
and at the first and third quarters of the moon, when an unusually 
low wave — neap tide — is produced by the conflicting attraction of 
the sun and moon. The change from spring to neap tide is often 
considerable. In the Bay of Fundy a spring tide of 50 feet is re- 
duced to a 24-foot neap tide, and at Astoria, Oregon, the 7.4-foot 
spring tide is reduced to 4.6 feet at the first and third quarters of 
the moon. 

The prediction of the height of tides would be a simple matter if 
the earth were covered with water, but the continents, with their di- 
versified coast line, cause much complication, and the height and time 
and velocity and duration of the tide must therefore be determined 
for each place separately. 

12. Relation to the land. In the open ocean, away from land 
bodies, the tide has a height of 1 to 2 feet, but when the wave is 
crowded against the shore and changed into a current, the height in- 
creases rapidly to a point determined by the configuration of the coast 
line. The momentum obtained in the open ocean forces the water 
far up bays and rivers and creeks of the land, and under normal con- 
ditions the farther the water is crowded inland the higher the tidal 
wave. For instance, the spring tide at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy 
reaches a height of 1 1 feet ; at St. John it has become 27 feet ; at 
Advocate, 39 feet; in the Petitcodiac River, 46 feet; and in the 
Noel River, 5 3 feet. When a sea expands after passing through a 
contracted passage, the tide may decrease in height as it approaches 
land ; for example, the tidal wave entering the Caribbean Sea and the 
Gulf of Mexico decreases to 2 feet, and at some places in the Gulf 
there is but one tide a day ; a tide of 6 feet at Gibraltar is diffused in 
the Mediterranean until it reaches the scarcely perceptible movement 
of 3 or 4 inches. Tidal currents act as rivers in scouring the bottom, 
carrying silts and sands to and fro within the bays, and depositing 
them over the sand flats. They become the chief obstructive agents 
with which the harbor engineer has to deal. 

13. Races and bores. In bays connected by narrow channels 
unusually dangerous whirlpools and currents may be developed, for. 

1 Wheeler. Practical Manual of Tides and Waves. 


owing to the configuration of the coast line, high tide may occur in 
one bay at the same time as low tide in the bay adjoining. The 
movement necessary to reestablish the water level produces the cur- 
rents recognized as races or eddies. Such races have always been 
the bane of navigators from the times when the Maelstrom of the 
Lofoten Islands and Scylla and Charybdis in the Strait of Messina 
first won their evil reputation. The races at Pentland Firth, Eliza- 
beth Islands, Strait of Magellan, and Cape La Hague are shunned 
by modern seamen ; and only by the removal, at great expense, of 
obstructing rock material at Hell Gate has the passage into Long 
Island Sound been rendered fairly safe for ships which ply between 
New York and the cities of the New England coast. 

At the mouths of certain large rivers tides develop features which 
make them particularly dangerous to shipping. Huge waves in these 
cases may run up the bays with great speed, sweeping everything be- 
fore them. Under the name of bore (aeger, hyre, mascaret, or poro- 
roco) these gleaming walls of water are known in all lands. Where 
bores occur, the tide comes in not as a gradual increase in volume 
but as a wave crest which rushes with great speed over the top of the 
stream. Bores in the Severn, the Trent, the Seine, the Garonne, the 
Petitcodiac, the Hooghly, and the Amazon exhibit the same features, 
varying only in speed and dimensions. In the Bristol Channel the 
bore enters the Severn with great force, and in 1606, 1687, 1703, 
and 1883 was unusually destructive. In the Amazon at new and full 
moon the sea swells to its greatest height in one or two minutes, 
and the noise of the rushing waters is heard at a distance of six 
miles. " Presently you see a liquid promontory 12 or 15 feet high, 
followed by another and another and sometimes by a fourth. These 
watery mountains spread across the whole channel and advance with 
a prodigious rapidity, rending and crushing everything in their way " 
(La Condamine). 

In Hangchau Bay the water advances in the form of a wall 2 J to 3 
miles wide, 10, 12, or even 20 feet high, and runs at a speed of 10 to 
20 miles an hour. Ships and ordinary protective works are helpless in 
the face of such a tremendous current of water, and the poorly con- 
structed dikes of the Chinese rivers entail great annual loss of life and 
of property. Because of this bore, Hangchau, which is on the main 
tributary of the bay and is the capital of Chekiang and the center of 
the silk-producing industry, has practically no connection with the sea, 
and the more favorably located Shanghai is in possession of the ex- 
port trade. 



14. Tides and harbors. The coming and going of ships from the 
land is largely governed by the tides. Fishing boats and other small 
craft time their daily movements by the tide, and there are few har- 
bors which do not depend upon tidal rise for the safe exit and return 
of their vessels. 

If the moon were suddenly to be struck out of existence, we should be imme- 
diately apprised of the fact by a wail from every seaport in the kingdom. From 
London, from Liverpool, from Bristol, we should hear the same story — the rise 
and fall of the tide had almost ceased. The ships in dock could not get out ; the 
ships outside could not get in ; and the maritime commerce of the world would 
be thrown into dire confusion. 1 

8calo of Miles 
12 3 4 

® Wigmi 

Lcislitou i> 


Fig. i. Mouth of the Mersey and Port of Liverpool 

Many large rivers without tides, which would normally furnish 
convenient access to the interior, are practically closed to navigation 
unless deepened by artificial means. The Mississippi, 50 feet deep 
above its mouth, has a natural depth over the bar of 13 feet. The 
Danube, draining 316,000 square miles, in its natural condition has a 
navigable depth of 7 to 12 feet, and the Rhone is rendered navigable 
only by the aid of canals connected with the sea (§ 34). The Neva has 
1 3 feet of water, the Volga 8 feet, and the Nile is navigable with diffi- 
culty below Cairo. On the other hand, the Mersey, with a drainage 

1 Ball, Story of the Heavens, p. 49. 


basin of less than 2000 square miles, makes Liverpool a great sea- 
port, owing to a tidal rise of 27 feet (fig. 1). The tides make the 
city of London an important shipping center, though it is 46 miles 
from the sea. And for the same reasons ships of considerable size 
may call at Hull upon the Humber, 23 miles from the sea ; at Rouen, 
77 miles up the Seine ; at Hamburg, 60 miles up the Elbe ; at Rot- 
terdam, 20 miles up the Maas ; at Antwerp, 45 miles up the Scheldt ; 
and at Bordeaux, 75 miles up the Garonne. Philadelphia is a seaport 
nearly 100 miles from the ocean, and ships of large draft navigate 
the Hudson to tidewater at Albany. Bristol, England, is an example 
of seaports which owe their entire existence to the presence of tides. 
Vessels of 2000 tons may visit this city, and ships of large size trade 
with Chepstow and Cardiff, because of a tidal rise of 32 feet. With- 
out the tide the Avon would have a depth at low water of less than 
4 feet. 

Because of the inability to enter harbors except at times of high 
water, it is necessary for sailing masters to know the facts regarding 
time and height of tides for any port which they may wish to enter. 
Tables are published for navigators which give the "establishment 
of the port," that is, the time of arrival of high or low water as 
compared with the position of the moon. For example, the estab- 
lishment for New York is 8 hours 1 3 minutes ; that is, high water 
occurs in New York harbor 8 hours 1 3 minutes after the transit of 
the moon. 

15. Tides as scavengers. The sewage of great coastal cities is 
diverted directly into the ocean, and the ebb tide acts as a scavenger, 
carrying waste materials to distances beyond reach of the shore line. 
Cities many miles up tidal rivers take similar advantage of their posi- 
tion. The importance of the tide in this connection may readily be 
seen by comparing the expense and the safety of the sewage disposal 
of Berlin with that of London, of New York with that of Peking. 

16. Tidal currents. When the tide is transformed into a current 
along the shore line it becomes a factor which must be taken into ac- 
count. It flows toward the land or alongshore with sufficient strength 
and velocity to carry the largest ship, and ignorance of the "set" 
and force of these currents has been the cause of many wrecks, as on 
the south coast of Ireland, the west coast of France, etc. So impor- 
tant is a knowledge of these currents that the Lloyds have especially 
equipped ships for the study of uncharted tidal currents on the Euro- 
pean coast line. When the position and speed of these currents are 
known they become an aid to navigation. The wash of tidal currents 


through openings in the coast is often sufficient to scour channels 
and to move and deposit large quantities of silt, shifting it to and fro 
with the changing direction and velocity of the tides and making 
mud banks in unexpected places. It is impossible to chart such an 
inlet ; maps are accordingly left blank with regard to such features, 
and the navigator must trust to the knowledge of the local pilots. 

Movements of Ocean Water — Currents 

17. Introductory. In addition to waves and tides there is a move- 
ment of water in the sea which produces streams with more or less 
clearly defined borders and with fairly constant speed and direction. 
These belts of moving water are the ocean currents, and they may 
take the form of a broad, shallow sheet advancing at the rate of 5 to 
1 5 miles a day, that is, a drift ; or they may exist as a more or less 
definite current confined within narrow limits and flowing at a rate of 
50 miles or more a day, that is, a stream. In addition to these surface 
movements there are deep-sea currents or drifts of slow speed and of 
universal distribution. The evidence for the existence of such ocean 
currents comes from several sources : derelicts are found to take more 
or less definite paths, and driftwood is seen to travel over the same 
route year after year. Wood from the tropics and wreckage from 
ships on the American coast drift to England and Scandinavia in 
sufficient quantities at times to furnish fuel supply, but derelicts of 
northern Europe do not reach America. Nansen noticed driftwood 
from Siberia on the east coast of Greenland, and used this observa- 
tion as the basis of his exploration toward the pole. Within the last 
century bottles containing paper requesting the finder to report time 
and place of discovery have been thrown overboard from many ships, 
and their direction and speed have been carefully noted. More re- 
cently ships, especially those making voyages of discovery, have been 
supplied with small oak casks which contain notices printed in several 
languages. Hundreds of these floats are set adrift each year and their 
tracks are carefully recorded by the various hydrographic bureaus. 
Thus during the three years 1 885-1 887 the Prince of Monaco alone 
sent out 1600 bottle floats and within four years had recovered 227 
of them. By these chance methods the position of ocean currents 
has been largely determined, and many interesting results secured. 
For instance, it was discovered that it took two and a half years for 
a bottle to make the circuit of the Atlantic, and some of the floats 
deposited by Benjamin Franklin traveled for thirty years before they 


were picked up on the Pacific and in the Gulf of Mexico. Another 
way of determining the direction and, at the same time, the speed of 
currents is to observe the courses of steamships which have drifted 
from their tracks. Hundreds of cases have been reported where ships 
find themselves out of their course in spite of the fact that most careful 
observations of their position have been made. So important is this 
matter in commerce that current charts have been issued by various 
governments since 1830, and in places where wind and tidal currents 
combine with ocean currents to produce exceptional drifts marine- 
insurance companies find it advantageous to conduct special surveys. 

18. Currents of the different oceans. Examination of a current 
chart of the world 1 shows that the water drifts westward on the 
equator until it impinges on the continents. It then turns poleward, 
crosses the oceans in middle latitudes, and returns toward the equa- 
tor, thus completing a more or less regular eddy whose size and di- 
mensions correspond with the different oceans. In the Pacific the 
size of the ocean and the arrangement of its bordering continents 
make a simple expression of current action possible. Both the 
North Pacific and South Pacific oceans seem to possess eddylike 
currents that move slowly around them, leaving the central parts 
relatively quiet ; the northern eddy moves from left to right and the 
southern from right to left, the velocity of the eastern drift being 
about 4.4 miles per day and that of the western drift 10 miles per 
day. The fastest current measured runs 26 miles per day, past the 
Gilbert Islands, and the longest continuous current, from Cape Horn 
to Cape York, requires three years to cover its course. 

In the Atlantic the western drift is seen to divide at Cape San 
Roque, part of it going north into the Caribbean Sea and part 
southward along the Brazilian coast. The eastern side of the Atlantic 
is occupied by a number of minor strands of a general oceanic drift. 
The Gulf Stream is the most marked feature of the Atlantic circula- 
tion. It starts in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, where 
the water is accumulated by continuous winds until the sea level off 
the Florida coast is 40 inches higher than at New York. Leaving the 
Strait of Florida, the Gulf Stream is a river 40 miles wide and 3000 
feet deep, with a velocity of 5 miles an hour. As the current travels 
northward under the guidance of the coast and the prevailing wester- 
lies it widens, goes more slowly, and, in about the latitude of New- 
foundland, becomes a drift moving at about one mile an hour. 

1 It is assumed that the reader has at hand an atlas or some elementary text-book 
of physical geography. 


In the Indian Ocean a warm current through Mozambique Channel 
strikes the Agulhas Bank, where it is divided, part of it returning 
eastward and the other part continuing around the Cape of Good 
Hope into the Atlantic. " The strength of the current on the shal- 
low bank (Agulhas) produces one of the roughest seas in the world." 
This ocean exhibits the anomalous condition of currents flowing part 
of the year in one direction and part in the opposite direction, chang- 
ing in sympathy with the shifting monsoons (§ 103). 

19. Currents and man. Ocean currents have practically no effect 
in molding the coast lines of the world, but in two important particu- 
lars they have exerted control over man's activities, namely, modifi- 
cation of climate and determination of trade routes. Their principal 
climatic influence is their effect on temperature. Without currents 
the surface of the ocean would be divided into zones of temperature 
corresponding with latitude, that is, hot in the tropics, freezing within 
the arctics ; but the presence of currents results in an irregular dis- 
tribution of hot and cold water, greatly affecting the climate of coast 
lines and producing apparent anomalies. The harbor of Hammerfest, 
in latitude y6° N., does not freeze ; New York harbor, in latitude 
40° N., does. Labrador is cold and bleak, while England, on the same 
parallel of latitude, is an agricultural region. Corals will not grow on 
the Galapagos Islands, directly under the equator, although they flour- 
ish in Bermuda, in latitude 3 2° N. Fuchsias grow on Vancouver Island 
when Montreal and Quebec are icebound, and certain Alaskan trees 
cannot endure the cold winter climate of New England. 

The west coasts of continents in the southern hemisphere are 
visited by currents from the poles and are also affected by cold water 
which rises to replace the warmer surface water drifted away to the 
westward. The last-mentioned phenomenon accounts for the fact 
that a uniform temperature exists over a wider range of coast line 
than might be expected. Thus the water at Callao, 12 south lati- 
tude, is no warmer than that at Valparaiso, 33 south. In fact, the 
whole western coast of South America, from 5 south to 40 south, 
is washed by cold water. The same condition exists in the Atlantic 
Ocean from Gibraltar to Cape Verde and also from latitude 1 o° south 
to Cape Town. 

In general, the combined influence of currents and winds is to 
make one side of the oceans warmer than the other in the same lati- 
tudes. Along the equator, and for about 10 degrees on each side, 
westward-moving currents warm the continental coast line, making 
Brazil, Guam, the West Indies, and the East Indies warmer than 


Morocco, etc., in corresponding latitudes. In middle and high latitudes 
of the northern hemisphere the west coasts of continents receive the 
warm currents and the east coasts the cold. The result is that Alaska 
has a number of ice-free harbors (§ 321), while on the correspond- 
ing coast of Asia, Russia has been able to make little headway 
against the ice which blocks her ports (§§ 26, 171). Unusually high 
temperatures exist in the North Atlantic, due to the configuration of 
the South American coast, which directs a large part of the equato- 
rial current northward, and to the fact that the westerlies, which carry 
warm air poleward, are unusually effective in this ocean (§ 102). The 
Gulf Stream and the westerlies greatly modify the climate of northern 
Europe, while the winds rising from the cold Labrador current are in 
part responsible for the climate of northern New England. 

The influence of ocean currents on migration and location of trade 
routes is obvious. The distribution of animals, of seeds, of plants, as 
well as the accidental oceanic migrations of men, was necessarily in 
the direction taken by currents, and the navigation of early civilized 
peoples was helped or hindered by currents. A knowledge of the 
direction of ocean drifts has always been an important asset in ship- 
ping. Thus American seamen of early colonial days were aware of 
the presence and importance of the Gulf Stream, as indicated by their 
expression, "it is downhill to England"; and they had discovered 
that, owing to this stream, the trip to England could be accomplished 
in considerably less time than the return voyage. Even at the present 
day sailing vessels take careful account of currents and their accom- 
panying winds. For instance, when bound from the United States to 
South America they cross the equator well to the eastward. The 
use of steam makes it unnecessary to pay so much attention to the 
direction of currents, but there is still a large amount of ocean traffic 
which must take careful account of the location of oceanic drift 
(§§ 189-190). 


20. Introductory. In the earliest stages of man's development the 
ocean was a barrier ; with the advance of civilization it became the 
chief highway of communication. It would be a rare experience in 
the present century to traverse the sea in any direction without meet- 
ing ships of various designs, constructed for different purposes, manned 
by people of various races, and plying between widely separated ports. 
Ships without keels require no special harbors and may be drawn 
up on the beach of any coast line ; but such ships, even with the 


construction of outriggers, are not adapted for long voyages except in 
quiet water. Trade on any large scale must be carried on in keeled 
ships, and such ships require quiet-water anchorage. The coast line 
best designed for the development of commerce is an irregular, in- 
dented one, with numerous offshore islands ; and this fact may well 
account for the development of Norwegian and Malay navigators of 
prehistoric times, and in part for the apparent lack of interest in ship- 
ping on the part of the Egyptians, the subjects of the Incas, and the 
Aztecs (§§168-170, 187, 194). Even to-day the eastern Mexican 
coast is without good harbors, and from Progreso to Tampico are long 
stretches without ports. The unloading of ships except by transfer 
to lighters is often impracticable, and then only goods securely packed 
in small packages can be handled readily. Even at Vera Cruz, the 
chief port of Mexico, ships were required to anchor in the offing, 
until the recently designed harbor works were completed. 

Controlling Conditions of Harbor Location 

21. Good harbor sites are found, not made, and their location 
and distribution depend upon conditions beyond the range of human 
activities. A channel may be dredged here and there and an artificial 
harbor may be constructed if conditions are favorable, but a natural 
harbor is a commercial asset of surpassing importance, which gives 
the people possessing it a distinct commercial advantage over their 
neighbors, — an advantage not to be offset by the expenditure of a 
nation's wealth in an effort to entice ships to a rendezvous not selected 
by nature. Good natural harbors are not the result of local pride nor 
of legislative enactment, but depend upon the physiography of a coast 
line and the force and direction of waves and currents (§ 192). 

22. Physiography of the coast. In general alignment the shores 
of the world present a variety of aspects : here long stretches of un- 
broken coast; elsewhere an abundance of islands, capes, bays, and inlets. 
Parts of the coasts are rockbound, others are bordered by stretches 
of low-lying sand. In places deep water adjoins the land ; in others 
a fringe of sands and shoals forms the shore. This variety of coast 
physiography is due fundamentally to movements within the earth's 
crust which have resulted in the elevation or depression of a shore 
line within recent geological time. 1 The effect of elevation is to 

1 The coast of Chile has risen 20 to 30 feet in the last two hundred years. The 
Swedish coast has risen 3 feet a century for the length of 200 miles. The Nether- 
lands are sinking ; Chicago is sinking ; and the New York-New Jersey coast is 
sinking at the rate of 1.56 feet per century. 


expose to view the continental shelf, — land which is now under 
water (§2). Such lands have a gently sloping floor coated with 
deposits of sands, gravels, and clays. The elevation of such a sea 
bottom results in a regular coast line of soft materials ; for example, 
the coast of Texas. Depression, on the other hand, produces marked 
irregularities, an effect which is readily understood if we consider 
an uneven land surface diversified by hills, valleys, and plains, and 
imagine it to be depressed so that the water would flow in around 
the hills and ridges. For example, the Maine coast, characterized 
by a wilderness of capes, promontories, islands, and narrow channels, 
owes its existence to depression of the land, and forms a marked 
contrast to the straight, even stretches of sand beach on the eastern 
coast of Florida. If the original shore line were mountainous, depres- 
sion would produce fiords and rockbound bays. If bordered by 
plains, an entire river system may be drowned ; stretches of fresh 
water become tidal estuaries, as in the case of the Hudson ; and 
tributaries become detached from the master streams, as in the case 
of Chesapeake Bay, where an entire river system has been rearranged 
and ancient tributaries to the Susquehanna and Potomac now enter 
the bay as independent streams. 

The coast line furnished by elevation or depression is molded by 
waves and currents, and to these agencies we owe the details of coast 
topography, — the cliffs, beaches, bars, spits, sand flats, and lagoons 
which affect the movements of coastwise trade and determine the 
character of protective works. 

23. Wave work. Waves develop cliffs, and with the aid of currents 
to ferry away the debris, may remove stretch after stretch of land. 
Shores of soft material are rapidly eroded, those of hard material 
slowly, but the process of erosion is the same and the retreat of a 
coast line inevitable. During historical time sites of villages have 
disappeared, and deep water now occupies the place of cultivated 
fields. Islands have been reduced in size, some of them entirely 
destroyed, and converted into shoals to be avoided by navigators. 

On the Yorkshire coast, England, between Bridlington and Kilnsea, a distance 
of 40 miles, the coast has been wasting at the rate of 7 feet per year. The town- 
ships of Wilesthorpe, Auburn, Hartburn, Withon, and Cleton are all buried by 
the sea. Thorpe parish has been reduced from 680 to 140 acres, and the villages 
of Shipden, Whimpwell, and Eccles have entirely disappeared. No vestige is left 
of Ravenserodd, a seaport at the mouth of the Humber during the reign of Ed- 
ward I. A strip of 2 miles in width has been cut from the eastern coast of Eng- 
land since the time of the Romans. Dunwich, once a flourishing port in the time 
of Sigefert, king of the East Angles, has disappeared. The island of Helgoland, 


at the mouth of the Elbe, has decreased from a circumference of 1 30 miles in 
the year 800 a.d. to 3 miles in 1900. Near Chatham, on the coast of Cape Cod, 
the shore has been retreating one foot yearly, and the rate of retreat at Martha's 
Vineyard and Nantucket has been even more rapid. Goodwin's Sands, Dowsing 
Sands, Race Shoal, etc., are remnants of islands which have entirely disappeared. 

24. Work of shore currents. The sea is not satisfied with an irreg- 
ular coast line, and the tendency of shore currents, produced by wave 
and tide (§§ 9, 16, 23), is to outline the continents with long lines of 
beach and bar, to unite promontories, to close inlets and fiords, and 
to replace all irregularities with curving embankmentS'Of sand. If no 
other forces were at work, the coast would develop long swinging 
curves where 

the shimmering band 
Of the sand beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land. 

The work of shore currents has progressed so far that much of the 
world's coast line is bordered with long sand beaches, which stand as 
barriers between the sea and the land and prevent access to the in- 
terior. These barrier beaches are well exhibited on the Atlantic coast 
of Long Island, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Florida, and Texas. Lines 
of sand beaches from a half mile to ten miles in width are molded by 
the waves on the ocean side and inclose lagoons back of the beach. 
So continuous are these sand ridges on the Atlantic shore that a small 
boat might be navigated from Virginia to Biscay ne Bay without going 
outside of the beaches. In fact, it has been proposed to construct a 
canal along this route, to avoid the dangers of Hatteras. Inlets occur 
through the beaches at frequent intervals. They are kept open, partly 
by the river currents, but particularly by the tidal currents which 
wash back and forth through them. Where inlets are absent, access 
to the land is cut off for long distances. On the Jersey coast, where 
the tide is fairly strong, the inlets are numerous ; on the Carolina 
coast the tides have sufficient strength to keep large channels open. 
On the Texas coast line, north of the Rio Grande, there is a con- 
tinuous stretch of no miles of barrier beach unbroken by a water 

Inlets through barrier beaches may be filled or completely obliter- 
ated by shifting mud flats, and where the shore currents are strong 
and well established there is the additional danger of destruction by 
shore drift. The difficulty of constructing satisfactory havens on a 
barrier-beach coast has often made such shores practically harborless. 

25. Examples of shore work. The action of waves, tides, currents, 
and winds on the shore line may be illustrated by the coast of Cape Cod 



(fig. 2). The outer end of the cape is a curved spit, and from High- 
head westward it is composed entirely of sand, which has been carried 
thither by currents and distributed by the wind. The part of the cape 
from Highhead to the mainland is composed of unconsolidated sedi- 
ment, largely glacial. 

The process of work on the cape is as follows : Waves beating on 
the coast at and south of Highland light tear down the unconsolidated 
shore at a rate of about 50 feet per century. The prevailing currents of 
wave and tide run northward, and material quarried from the shore, 
and ground fine by the waves on the beach, is carried to Race Point. 
There currents running southward and later southeastward build the 
sand into a curved spit inclosing the harbor of Provincetown. The 

Fig. 2. Map of Provincetown Harbor 
Scale, 1 inch =3^ miles ; contour interval, 20 feet 

great deposits of sand extending from Highhead westward were 
represented first by a spit beginning at the old land north of High- 
land light. The extension of the spit was the work of currents, but 
at low tide the beach sands came within range of the wind, and dunes 
were developed which, drifting westward, recovered the land from 
the sea. The dunes are still traveling, filling water bodies back of 
Provincetown and burying vegetation, and the currents continue to 
carry the sand on to the spit at Long Point. Artificial protection 
for the villages on the cape has not been entirely successful in stop- 
ping the development of sand bars or the migration of dunes. 

Cape Cod is thus seen to be an example of what is occurring on 
all coast lines where sand is exposed to the action of currents and 
winds. Waves furnish the material, currents transport it, and the 
wind serves to build it into land permanently above high water. 


Types of Harbors 

26. Introductory. Harbors are first of all refuges for ships, — 
places where they may lie safely at anchor, be loaded and unloaded. 
They require, therefore, (1) sufficient depth of water leading from the 
open sea to the anchorage ; (2) protection from waves. Without these 
features they are not adapted to man's use ; but a thoroughly satisfac- 
tory natural harbor requires, in addition, (3) an anchorage ground large 
enough for many ships ; (4) a fairly straight channel without strong cur- 
rents ; (5) relative freedom from shifting sand ; (6) exemption from 
closure by ice. Commercial harbors are, however, more than this ; 
they are terminal ports where inland and ocean commerce meet. They 
must have, therefore, (7) convenient access to the interior by available 
routes, or a location at the crossing of great highways of trade. 

The absence of any one of these conditions may affect the value 
of a harbor otherwise satisfactory. For instance, Vladivostock, although 
possessing many characteristics of a good harbor, is closed by ice 
during a large part of the year. On the other hand, Valetta has a 
larger harbor than Malta requires, and Trincomalee, Ceylon, though 
an excellent natural harbor, is available only for naval purposes 
because of the absence of trade and back-country. 

27. The places most suitable for harbors on the coast lines of 
the world are (1) drowned valleys, (2) barrier beaches, (3) rivers, 
(4) atolls, (5) craters. 

28. Drowned- valley harbors. Drowned- valley harbors owe their 
existence to the fact that the coast line has sunk, allowing sea water 
to enter a river valley. If such a coast line is bordered by a plain, 
the sinking of the shore produces harbors like those of Norfolk, 
Baltimore, and Buenos Ayres. Depression of a more uneven land 
surface produces harbors like those of Rio de Janeiro, New York, 
those on the Maine coast, and Vancouver and Seattle on the Pacific 
coast. The drowning of a valley in a mountainous region produces 
fiords in which harbors may be located, as at Trondhjem on the 
Norwegian coast. Occasionally a range of hills or mountains is 
depressed to such an extent that sea water has access to a valley 
back of the range, and a former mountain pass becomes a harbor 
gateway, as at San Francisco. 

Drowned-valley harbors have a depth of water determined by the 
amount of sinking the coast line has undergone. They are well pro- 
tected from waves and have the advantage of easy access to the in- 
terior of the country, either by the rivers themselves or by railroads 


along the valleys. The outlet to the sea, however, may be unsatis- 
factory ; tides and currents may be difficult to control, and the drifting 
sands at the river mouths demand constant attention. The harbors 
of New York and San Francisco are examples of this type. 

The present distribution of salt water in the neighborhood of New 
York is in accordance with the previous topography (fig. 3). North 
River and East River were valleys on the old land, the former being 
traceable for a hundred miles out into the Atlantic. The flatter de- 
pressions of the ancient land surface are now represented by Newark 
Bay, Upper New York Bay, and Raritan Bay, and the minor elevations 
in the old land surface are still visible as islands. The lower Hudson 
has sunk so much that a good depth of water is furnished at New 
York. The access to this deep water from the Atlantic, however, is 
impeded by drifting sand. The shore currents of wave and tide run 
westward on the south side of Long Island and northward on the 
east side of New Jersey ; Coney Island and Sandy Hook are being 
extended, and sand is thus carried directly into the mouth of the har- 
bor. Quantities of shore drift are piled up about the harbor's mouth 
in the form of shoals, and if these shore currents alone were at work, 
the bay would be completely walled in by embankments of sand. In 
spite of the tidal wash and the sinking coast (§ 22) the sand is slowly 
filling the harbor entrance. The outlet to the sea is kept open by the 
waters from Hudson River and from Long Island Sound, together 
with the scour from the tides which enter the bay directly, and so 
effective are these forces in offsetting the drifting sands that a natu- 
ral depth of 18 to 20 feet is maintained, a condition found in few 
other ports. Ships drawing less than 18 feet of water pass directly 
into the bay through South Channel and Swash Channel (see fig. 3), 
but most of the shipping enters the harbor through two channels, 
largely artificial. The entrance for larger ships has long been 
through Gedney Channel and its continuation, Main Channel, which 
in 1883 had a depth of 23 feet at mean low water and was later 
deepened until a depth of 30 feet at low water is maintained for the 
22 miles from the Battery to the Atlantic. This depth is not suffi- 
cient for modern commerce, and, furthermore, the channel was so 
narrow that ships over 600 feet in length could take the sharp turns 
only with great danger. The Ambrose Channel, with a depth of 40 
feet and a width of 2000 feet, is therefore being constructed. This 
channel, which required 7 miles of dredging, was buoyed for naviga- 
tion in September, 1907, and at the present time about four fifths of 
its length has been cut to a depth of 37 feet. 

Fig. 3. New York Harbor 



The position of New York and the character of its harbor accounts 
for its commercial supremacy. Access to the interior of the continent 
is easy, the tributaiy country is large, and the harbor has ioo miles 
of water front available for anchorage. There is already 90 miles of 
frontage along the docks and piers on the New Jersey and New York 
shores, which take care of two thirds of the foreign commerce of the 
United States. 

The drowning of the coast at San Francisco (fig. 4) has admitted 
the sea to the Sacramento valley, which, combined with the San 
Joaquin, makes the great valley of California (§ 68).' The shoaling 
bottoms bordering on the eastern part of the bay make the protected 
edge of San Francisco peninsula the natural location for piers. 

Fig. 4. San Francisco Harbor 

29. Barrier harbors. Wave and tidal currents, which have devel- 
oped barrier beaches (§ 24), bars, spits, and hooks along a large part 
of the world's coast line, form inlets through these barriers and thereby 
furnish access to quiet-water anchorage back of the ridges of sand. 
Such are the harbors at Provincetown (§ 25), at Galveston and other 
points on the Gulf coast, at many small cities on the Carolina, Florida, 
and New Jersey coasts, and such also are the harbors at Danzig, 
Germany, and the African port of Durban. A constant movement of 
sand along the shore and back and forth through the inlets makes the 
maintenance of a permanent channel in a harbor of this type a matter 
of great difficulty. Inlets change their position in spite of engineer- 
ing works, and attempts to make harbors though barrier beaches 
often result in failure after the expenditure of millions of dollars. On 


certain coast lines the presence of continental islands replaces bar- 
rier beaches and furnishes quiet-water anchorage. Boston harbor, 
although belonging to the drowned-valley class, owes much of its 
value to the fact that it is protected by a number of islands which, 
in turn, must be protected from the waves of the sea ; and Callao 
owes its importance as a seaport in part to the presence of nearshore 
islands, back of which ships may ride in comparative safety. 

Fig. 5. Galveston Harbor 

Barrier harbors have easy lines of access to the interior, for they 
lie on the margins of flat coastal plains, upon whose edges barrier 
beaches are more fully developed than in the case of a more com- 
plicated topography. They are well protected from storms. The 
depth of water, however, is never great, and often markedly fluctu- 
ating. The characteristics of barrier harbors may be illustrated by 
those of Galveston (fig. 5) and Cette (fig. 9). 

Galveston lies at the end of a sand island (barrier beach) 30 miles 
long by 1 J to 3 miles wide. The natural wash of tide and current 


through, the inlet between Galveston and Bolivar peninsula has been 
increased by jetties until 18 feet of water, together with a satisfactory 
anchorage, have been secured. The land on which the city rests was 
originally so low as to be flooded in times of storm. An extensive trib- 
utary country and a location on the Gulf give Galveston commercial 
importance and justify the great expense involved in raising the entire 
island and rebuilding the city after the hurricane of 1900 (§7). 

30. River harbors. Many large harbors of the world, such as those 
of New Orleans and Hamburg, are located some distance up rivers 
(§ 14). Such harbors have convenient access to interior commerce, 
allowing commodities to be brought some distance inland without 
transshipment, and they may be so located as to form a common center 
for shipping and agriculture. Their protection from waves is ample, 
and most of the other conditions of harbor location are fulfilled. The 
depth of water is also usually ample in the harbor itself, but the pres- 
ence of deltas (§ 45) makes it difficult to maintain a satisfactory depth 
of water across the bar because some of the largest rivers of the world 
have but a few feet of water at their mouths. Thus the Volga, 
which has a navigable water way of about 7500 miles, has a depth of 
barely 8 feet over the bar at its mouth. So valuable, however, are 
river harbors that much attention has been given to means for deep- 
ening the channels across the deltas. To this end jetties have been 
put into the Mississippi, the Danube, and numerous other streams. 
The Thames has been deepened to Tillbury, and the Po has been con- 
fined for centuries between artificial embankments. Scarcely a large 
river of the German Empire flows in its natural channel. If the har- 
bor is located on the delta itself, an additional disadvantage is present, 
namely, that the main current may change, shifting its position in a 
very capricious manner. The outlet of the Hwang-ho, in 1888, was 
300 miles from its present mouth, and its frequent change of position 
has caused enormous destruction of life and property (§ 45). Typical 
river harbors are the ports of New Orleans (fig. 6), Portland (Oregon), 
Shanghai, and Calcutta. 

The Mississippi at New Orleans has a depth of water ample for the 
largest steamships, and its navigable water connection with fifteen states 
makes its location of great commercial importance. However, in spite 
of its great length and volume, the Mississippi had, in a natural state, 
a navigable depth over the delta of but 8 to 13 feet, a depth alto- 
gether inadequate for modern commerce. To remedy this defect Cap- 
tain Eads contracted, in 1875, to secure 30 feet of water way by a 
system of jetties, which was designed to force the stream to remove 



the sediment from its own bed. In this attempt he was successful, 
and for thirty years South Pass has been the commercial entrance 
to New Orleans. The new jetties in the Southwest Pass will secure 
even greater depth of water and will shorten the route to Panama 
and Central America. 

It is desirable that a Pacific coast port be located at some place on 
the lower Columbia River, for access to the interior by way of this 


great river and its tributaries is better than by any other route eastward 
from the Pacific. Appropriations have been made for the construction 
of a 40-foot channel across the bar at the mouth of the Columbia, 
with the idea that further dredging and training of the stream will 
produce a satisfactory harbor at Portland, 1 10 miles from the sea. 

31. Coral-reef harbors. Coral reefs, built by polyps where condi- 
tions of temperature are satisfactory, form excellent quiet-water 
anchorages, particularly when the reef has the atoll form, — a ring of 
coral breached at certain points. The commercial value of atoll har- 
bors is slight because of the lack of territory on which to draw and 

Scale ofTIUei J"c> ' 


OJjl 2 3 * 6 6 y C 

Dotted Contours show depths ;'£■( "••-'. 

of about 50 feet f " TT? 

...64 40' 

Fig. 7. Ireland Island Harbor, Bermuda 

the great distances from large land masses, but they have wide use as 
havens of rest or stations of transshipment along great sailing routes, 
as at Suva (Fiji Islands). Irregular growths of corals in the open 
ocean or near shore have, however, furnished a number of valuable 
ports. Key West is formed of coral ; and the harbor of Ireland Island, 
Bermuda, which is the central Atlantic station for the British fleet, 
is composed entirely of coral. The entrance to this harbor is by a 
long tortuous channel through ancient reefs (fig. 7). 

32. Crater harbors. Submerged volcanoes, breached so as to allow 
access of sea water, may possess many natural advantages. Lyttelton, 
New Zealand, which is the port of Christchiirch and the gateway to 



the rich Canterbury plains, is a harbor located in an old crater. Goods 
are transferred from Lyttelton to Christchurch by means of a railway 
built in a tunnel through the wall of the ancient volcano. Aden 
is another example of harbors of this type. 

33. Artificial harbors. On coast lines where no natural harbors 
exist it is possible to build them at great expense by constructing 

works which take into 
account the normal ac- 
tion of the ocean. If the 
height of the waves is 
not too great, nor the 
tidal currents too strong, 
the harbor thus con- 
structed may possess the 
advantages of a natural 
anchorage. The expense, 
however, is always enor- 
mous, and the perma- 
nency of the structures 
uncertain (cf. §§ 190, 
192). Many small under- 
takings of this sort have 
resulted disastrously, and 
even the resources of 
Chile have not been suffi- 
cient to build a satisfactory harbor off the unprotected coast of Valpa- 
raiso, owing to the condition of the bottom and the enormous expense 
involved. Successful attempts to construct harbors of this type may 
be illustrated by the harbors of Algiers and San Pedro (fig. 8). 

A harbor has been constructed at this latter point because Los An- 
geles demanded an ocean outlet. San Pedro was chosen because it is 
the best of a number of poor sites. The absence of favorable natural 
conditions is indicated by the fact that one of the artificial breakwaters 
at San Pedro reaches the remarkable length of 9000 feet and cost 
nearly $4,000,000. 

Though chosen primarily for their natural advantages, most harbors 
are artificial to a greater or less extent, and the method of improve- 
ment is usually to build jetties, which tend to confine the water and 
make it scour deeper, or to dredge in order to increase the depth of 
the channels, or to build breakwaters, which are designed to give pro- 
tection from the waves and at the same time control the currents 

Scale of Miles 
12 3 4 5 6 

113 1 1J 

Fig. 8. San Pedro Harbor 



which are carrying sand into the harbor mouths. I [arbors at river 
mouths are the most easily dredged and protected, and here the 
method is usually to increase the effectiveness of the scouring by 
rivers and tides. In this manner the mouths of some small streams 
have been made important harbors. The Clyde River, for instance, 
is a stream of no great importance and contained originally only 2 to 
3 feet of water. By proper dredging and building of protective works 
sufficient depth has been secured to make Glasgow a shipping center 
of great importance. 

Value of Harbors 

34. The relation of harbors to coast lines and the commercial im- 
portance of a good location may be illustrated by the following in- 
stances. On the south coast of France the natural line of access to 





— - 



jr — **" 


Area of Delta y 


"^G^ d 


i. Avifrnon 

8c*leofMllei w 





Montpcllier a \ 


^^ ^^_ 



Ktmmt d, Mn4 






k. tew^^ 




Marseilles Jp . — ~"JLr, 


Fig. 9. Delta of the Rhone 

the interior is the Rhone (fig. 9). This river, however, depositing large 
quantities of sediment in a tideless sea, builds an extensive delta on 
which the water is shallow and the position of its channels uncertain. 
In spite of the expenditure of millions of dollars and the efforts of the 
ablest engineers, the river has not been made navigable for ships of 
large size, and Port St. Louis, at the mouth of the Rhone, is rarely 
shown on atlas maps. The port of Cette, on this coast, is located near 
an inlet between two sections of a barrier beach, where a sufficient 
depth of water is maintained with difficulty. Marseilles is the one natural 
port on the southern coast of France, and owes its preeminence to a de- 
pressed coast and to a shore line so shaped as to furnish protection 



•&■ -0- Lighthouses 
— — Breakwaters 
-* Direction of Drift 

Shoal £> 


Fig. io a. Mouth of the Connecticut River 

from the larger waves. Harbor works have increased the size and 
safety of the port until it has become one of the chief harbors on the 

entire Mediterranean coast line. 
Access to the Rhone valley, 
which is the natural line of 
travel inland, is gained by 
constructing railroads from 
Marseilles to join the river 
above its delta. 

In the Adriatic Sea similar 
conditions prevail. Trieste 
and Fiume are the termina- 
tions of important steamship 
lines, but the sand-fringed 
Italian shore furnishes no 
good harbors, and the great 
Po River, the natural line of 
entrance to Italy, is rendered 
useless by a rapidly growing 
and constantly shifting delta. The old port of Adria, which gave 
the name to the Adriatic Sea, is now 14 miles inland. 

Two places on the west coast of the 
United States, Puget Sound and San 
Francisco Bay, possess natural harbor 
sites of high grade. Each owes its 
existence to the depression of ancient 
highlands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca 
as well as the Golden Gate being typi- 
cal drowned valleys (§ 28). The Co- 
lumbia River is blocked by bars (§ 24), 
and the long stretches from Astoria 
to San Francisco and from San Fran- 
cisco to San Diego offer little oppor- 
tunity for safe anchorage of ships. 
San Diego has a barrier harbor with 
28 feet of water over the bar, and Los 
Angeles has, at great expense, con- 
structed anchorage at San Pedro(§ 33). 
San Francisco stands preeminent 
on the Pacific coast because it is the only high-grade harbor between 
Tacoma and the Mexican border. New York, in the drowned valley 

■ Breakwaters \ \ 

73 5 6' 

■* Direction of Di If t\ \ 


$ $ Lighthouses \ I 

1 v \ 


Stratford / i \ * 8 V 

/ / 

1 \ '. * A 


S. — ^ N 5\ 


10 r j&r\ s -xs 

is $ 



"* *■>-.. *. ' Scale of MBes 

M 1 

"2 "f" 

Fig. \ob. 

Mouth of the Housatonic 


of the Hudson, possesses advantages unequaled by other Atlantic coast 
cities, and London, occupying the first high land inside of the Thames 
estuary, has become the commercial center of the world. 

In the cases cited above, the character of the harbor has deter- 
mined the importance of a seaport, and in certain places the presence 
of a harbor has controlled the 

Fig. ioc. New Haven Harbor 

location of a city in spite of evi- 
dent disadvantages : thus Kings- 
ton is known to be in an earth- 
quake zone ; its harbor has been 
repeatedly damaged and is liable 
to be destroyed at any moment. 
The configuration of the Jamaica 
coast is such, however, that 
Kingston remains the only avail- 
able harbor site. 

The importance of tides and 
currents in relation to other con- 
ditions is well shown by three har- 
bors of Long Island Sound (figs. 
10 a, b, c). The natural lines of 
access to the interior are the large 
rivers, the Connecticut and Housatonic, and it would be highly desir- 
able if harbors could be located at their mouths. The Connecticut, 
however, though one of the largest rivers of New England, has its 
mouth so blocked with sand as to leave a natural depth of only 7 feet. 
The Housatonic, a stream 100 miles long, has a normal depth over the 
bar of only 3 feet. New Haven harbor, which furnishes an outlet for 
three little rivers, the longest of which is only 3 5 miles, has a natural 
depth of nearly 20 feet of water. The difference in value of these 
harbors is due to the shape of the drowned coast line and the fact that 
the shore currents of Long Island Sound run westward. At the Con- 
necticut River, Lyndes Neck is so located as to allow the sand to drift 
into the river's mouth. The mouth of the Housatonic is even more 
unfavorably placed, for the river turns squarely into the face of the 
drifting sands. At New Haven, on the other hand, the eastern cape, 
Lighthouse Point, projects in such a way as to lead the westerly 
drifting sand into deep water. 

From what has been said it is clear that the location, develop- 
ment, and commercial importance of coast cities, large and small, are 
inseparably bound up with the alignment and structure of the coast. 




35. Introduction. That the shape of the earth's surface has exerted 
a controlling influence on human history and economic development 
is almost self-evident. Cities are not located in haphazard fashion, but 
at points where, among other things, the topography is favorable. 
Railroads follow predetermined courses. Mountains present difficul- 
ties to settlement and transportation (§ 296) ; plains constitute the 
great farms of the world. Parts of the earth are entirely removed from 
settlement because of unfavorable topographic form, and the migra- 
tions of people have been directed and in large part determined by 
the relief of the land (§§ 162, 166). The water bodies of the world 
are not habitable, and if we add to them the regions which are too 
high or too low for settlement and those affected by adverse climate, 
there remains scarcely one tenth of the earth's surface which is suit- 
able for the home of man. 

36. Topographic changes. Topographic features are not to be con- 
sidered permanent ; hills, valleys, plains, and other recognized forms 
of natural scenery have undergone changes within historical as well 
as geological time. Mountains have not always occupied their present 
position, and sea and land have sometimes changed places. In a pre- 
vious age the edge of the North American continent was 1 1 o miles 
beyond New York City, and rivers flowed across Long Island Sound, 
emptying into the ocean to the south. In recent geological times the 
Strait of Gibraltar was closed and the Mediterranean joined to the 
Red Sea. England was part of the European continent, and the Black 
and Caspian seas formed part of a great water body extending east of 
the Urals to the Arctic Ocean. Ostia, the ancient port of Rome, is 
now over a mile inland. The Niagara River has cut a gorge 7 miles 
long since glacial time. At one period lakes and waterfalls were as 
unusual in New York and New England as they are now in the south- 
ern states. Buildings erected three or four hundred years ago on the 
west coast of Greenland are now under the sea, and a Spanish ware- 
house built two centuries ago near the mouth of the Mississippi is 
partly under water. The San Francisco earthquake ( 1 906) resulted in 



moving a large part of California 8 feet farther north. Even the every 
day quiet action of water and frost and air on the land is continually 
modifying its topography. Mountains are reduced to plains by slowl) 
acting forces, valleys are cut out of solid rock, deltas arc built, and 
hills of great variety are continually in process of development A 
few of these changes occur suddenly, within a few minutes, but mosl 
of them require thousands and some require millions of years. I hir 
ing the lifetime of an individual the scenery changes only an inappreci 
able amount, but the modification is along definite lines and may be 
readily interpreted. For a proper appreciation of the world about us 
it is necessary to recognize the fact that development and evolution, 
not permanency and stability, characterize land forms. 

37. Area and height of lands. The waters covering the earth 
are so great in extent that a relatively small proportion of land is ex- 
posed permanently above the water surface ; in fact, the land of the 
world might well be considered as those parts of the earth's surface 
not drowned by the oceans. The entire area of the globe is about 
197,000,000 square miles, and of this amount the lands constitute a 
little over 50,000,000 square miles, — about one fourth of the earth's 

A physical map of the world shows that six sevenths of all the land 
is more or less connected in one so-called "land hemisphere," and 
that the remaining areas constitute about one thirtieth of the earth's 
surface. For convenience the surface of the land is divided into con- 
tinents, which are simply large land areas, each possessing more or less 
distinct physical characteristics. In Europe 54 per cent of the land 
is less than 600 feet above the sea and only 1 o per cent is above 6000 
feet. Extensive low plains characterize this continent. Africa has 
87^ per cent of its surface over 600 feet above the sea, and thus ex- 
tensive plateaus are its predominant feature. Australia is much like 
Africa. Asia contains immense plains and is characterized also by 
massiveness and the height of its mountain ranges. Thirty-eight per 
cent of this continent lies above 3000 feet and its average height, 
2884 feet, is greater than that of any other grand division. North 
America and South America are built on much the same plan ; they 
have long, narrow mountain ranges, with extensive plains and plateaus. 
The Rocky Mountains and the Andes are, however, not to be consid- 
ered as a continuous chain, the northern Andes terminating at the 
coast of Colombia ; a distinct mountain system, including Central 
America and the West Indies, separates the Andes from the North 
American Pacific mountain system, terminating in southern Mexico. 


Considered as a whole, the height of land above sea level is much 
less than the depth below it. The deepest depression (31,614 feet) 
exceeds the highest point, Mt. Everest (29,002 feet), and the average 
elevation of the land is less than half a mile above sea level (about 
2300 feet), while the average depth of the sea is more than 2 miles 
(about 1 2,000 feet). Parts of the land surface lie below the sea level ; 
the largest of such depressions is the Caspian Sea district and the 
deepest is the Dead Sea (1300 feet). If all the lands now above the 
sea were thrown into the ocean depths, so as to obtain a uniform 
level, the entire earth would be covered with water il miles deep. 

To mankind these profound depths and great heights are very 
impressive, yet, relatively to the earth's diameter (8000 miles), they 
are insignificant. The extreme difference in relief between the great- 
est ocean depth and the top of the highest mountain, about 1 1 miles, 
would be represented on an 8-inch globe by a very thin coat of varnish. 
Nevertheless, the topography of the surface is one of the controlling 
factors in producing climate, which in turn determines in part the 
distribution and habits of living forms. 

38. Kinds of rocks. The rocks of the earth are of several hundred 
different kinds, composed of over twelve hundred mineral species, 
varying greatly in composition, structure, and in their ability to resist 
erosion. As articles of commerce they include the ores 1 and a large 
part of our building material and fuel, and in their decomposed state 
form the soils of the world (Chapter III). As material out of which 
the earth is built, they fall readily into three great groups : 

1. Those which solidified from a molten state are the so-called 
igneous rocks. The solidification may have taken place beneath the 
earth's surface, or on the surface, as lava and other products of vol- 
canoes. Granite (§ 267) is an illustration of this type and is com- 
posed entirely of crystallized fragments, chiefly quartz, feldspar, and 
mica. These crystals are closely bound together, and it is only after 
its weakest mineral, usually feldspar, is weathered out that the rock 
begins to crumble into soil. Rocks of this class rank high for build- 
ing and monumental purposes. 

2. The decomposition of rocks furnishes material which, when 
redeposited by water or ice or wind, constitutes sedimentary rocks ; 
these consist of grains or fragments of different sizes united by a 
cement and arranged in strata originally in a horizontal position. 

1 Nothing is said in the present connection with reference to the distribution of 
ores ; there are no simple principles that govern this matter, and the actual distri- 
bution is treated sufficiently in Part III (§§ 254-268). 


Sandstone is a type of this class and consists chiefly of grains of quartz 
held together by lime or iron. Limestone, another member of this 
group, is composed of lime, furnished in large part by shells oi 
tinct organisms ; while shale is a sedimentary rock which consists oi 
compacted muds and silts of ancient seas and lakes and rivers. Sand- 
stone and limestone are more extensively used for structural purpi 
than any other rock type. 

3. Igneous or sedimentary rocks which have been buried deeply 
in the earth, and crushed, stretched, and squeezed so as to bear little- 
resemblance to their original form, are called metamorphic. To this 
group belong the gneisses, schists, slates, and marbles (cf. § 26;), 
which have large commercial value. 

39. Weathering. While the ocean bottom is a place of quiet where 
rock formation and rock decay are excessively slow, the lands, on the 
other hand, are marked by activity and continuous change, due to 
physical agencies and to life. The surface rocks are split by frost, 
decomposed by the atmosphere and by plant life, ground up under 
ice, reduced to dust by rivers and waves, and carried about by winds, 
streams, and currents. The result is the formation of a mantle of 
decomposed rock waste, spread loosely over the lands. The general 
process of change from firm rock to unconsolidated soil is weathering, 
and its nature may be readily appreciated by comparing a stone fresh 
from the quarry with one in an ancient wall or with an old monument 
in a cemetery. Rocks decay at varying rates, depending upon their 
composition and the activity of the eroding agent. The "softer" 
rocks are removed first, the "harder" ones later; and accordingly 
the less resistant rocks are represented topographically by valleys, 
while the more resistant ones stand as hills and ridges. 


40. The minor topographic features of lake, waterfall, pass, or 
canyon exert a direct influence on the location of cities and the de 
velopment of transportation. In a larger way the fundamental land 
forms represented on the earth have controlled settlement, dire 
migration, and determined the location of fertile tracts and the posi- 
tion of the world's inland markets. 

Plains, valleys, mountains, and plateaus are the chief topographic 
forms of world-wide influence, and, where typically developed, they 
present features which are individual and which may readily be rec- 
ognized. There are, however, no sharp lines of demarcation between 


the various kinds of land forms, and no uniform nomenclature exists. 
A so-called plain in an interior region may be similar to a plateau 
near the sea ; mountains grade into hills and these into plains and 
plateaus of uneven surfaces ; valleys grade into plains, and plateaus 
into mountains, — a condition which is readily understood if we bear 
in mind that any given topographic form is merely a stage in a long 
process of development. The first type of land forms which requires 
consideration is plains. 


41. Introductory. Any flat-lying area of land constitutes a plain. 
It may include a few acres or may constitute a large part of a conti- 
nent ; the material of which it is composed may be unconsolidated 
sands or gravels or clay or solid rock ; its flat surface may be due 
to horizontal strata or to the erosion of mountains of complicated 

Plains are favorable for agriculture ; they present an easily tilled 
soil and few obstacles to transportation, and accordingly have become 
the home of 90 per cent of the world's population. The plains and 
harbors of Europe and America are prominent factors in the com- 
mercial supremacy of these sections of the world. The chief disad- 
vantage of the plain is the absence of mineral products. Stone for 
building does not occur in the great agricultural districts of Russia, 
Hungary, South America, and Holland, nor generally on the plains 
of the world. 

42. Terraces. A widely distributed form of plain is the river ter- 
race, seen along streams and valleys where, for any reason, a river 
which formerly deposited material begins to remove it ; or where a 
broad stream is confined to a narrow channel, cutting deeply into the 
sediment already laid down. The result of such action is to develop 
on the valley sides long and narrow strips of flat land, which have 
become favorite places for the location of cities. Springfield, Massa- 
chusetts, stands on a terrace of the Connecticut River, and London 
is located on a terrace of the Thames. 1 

43. Lake beds. A second type of plain marks the site of former 
lakes (§91). Small plains of this sort constitute choice farming sec- 
tions throughout the north temperate zone and may be observed 
in most of the states north of the limit of ancient glaciation (see 
fig. IS). One such lake bed has been an important factor in the 
economic history of North America, since it has given rise to the 

1 Marr, The Scientific Study of Scenery, p. 235. 


famous wheat lands of Minnesota, Dakota (§ 2l8), and Manit 

a region formerly occupied by a body of fresh water (Lake 

whose remnants stand as Lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegosis, and 


44. Flood plains. The lands over which a river may spread in 
times of flood, and which, under natural conditions, are entirely within 
the control of the stream, constitute flood plains. They arc best de 
veloped by rivers of large size which flow through regions oi uncoil 
solidated rock and whose drainage basins are subject to a fluctuating 
rainfall. In form these plains are highest adjoining the channel, and 
the only parts normally above high water are the two narrow belts 
of land which form the river's banks. The stream appears to have 
intrenched itself in the top of an embankment, which may stand [O 
to 20 feet above the bordering swamp. The building of these barriers 
along the river's course makes it impossible for the tributarie 
enter normally, and they accordingly are forced to run parallel to the 
main stream for considerable distances ; thus the Yazoo travels 200 
miles and the St. Francis 100 miles before they are able to enter 
their master stream, and the Atchafalaya, which would naturally be 
a tributary to the Mississippi, follows an independent course to the 
Gulf. 1 

Flood plains are built up of annual or seasonal accretions of sedi- 
ment and their soil is accordingly of fine texture. 2 This fact and 
ease of transportation are the two commercial advantages possessed 
by plains of this type ; and so fundamental are these features that 
where climatic conditions are favorable, — as in the valleys of the 
Po, the upper Ganges, the Nile, and the Hwang-ho, — flood plains 
become the most densely populated sections of the world ; the same 
is true, in less degree, of the Volga, the Guadalquivir, the Parana, 
and the Theiss. The flood plains of the Mackenzie, the Ob, and the 
Lena are of little value to man because of the severity of arctic 
climates, while the Euphrates, Oxus, and Lower Colorado are ex- 
amples of plains in districts too arid for ordinary agriculture. 

The flood plain of the Mississippi is a typical example of this 
class of land forms. This river has a water discharge greater than 
the Po, the Danube, and the Rhone combined, and carries annu- 
ally some 400,000,000 tons of sediment to the Gulf of Mexico. Its 
high-water stage is 50 feet above low water. The portion of its valley 

1 These features of the Mississippi drainage system are represented on all 
maps of this region (see also fig. 6). 

- Each inundation of the Nile leaves a laver of fertilizing silt .oj$ inch thick. 


subject to flood is 29,700 square miles, extending from Cape Girardeau 
to the Gulf, a direct distance of 600 miles, which becomes 1 125 miles 
when measured along the meandering river. The Mississippi changes 
its channel so abruptly and extensively that almost every year the 
steamship routes must be relocated and boundary lines reestablished. 
Even villages must fight for their existence. Kaskaskia, the capital 
of Illinois until 18 19, was changed into an island in 1881, and en- 
tirely destroyed by floods in 1899. In Greenville, a port of 8000 in- 
habitants, the houses on the river front are being continually shifted 
to the back of the town, and the city is apparently marked for destruc- 
tion. The same conditions hold along the Missouri, where there is 
an annual transfer of property between Nebraska and Iowa, Kansas 
and Missouri, and where one of the chief cities, St. Joseph, is waging 
a losing battle with the treacherous stream. 

The efforts to control the Mississippi have been only partially suc- 
cessful. 1 Fifteen hundred miles of levees have been constructed, 
bringing 75 per cent of the stream under control ; but the river still 
exhibits its power, and thousands of acres were inundated during the 
years 1881, 1882, 1884, 1897, 1903, and later. By careful, continu- 
ous, and very expensive levee building the number of crevasses has 
been reduced from 284 in 1882, 23 in 1890, and 49 in 1897, to 9 
in 1903. Relying on these artificial embankments, settlements have 
increased in the side valleys ; the Yazoo basin, for instance, some- 
what larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, contained 
at the last census a population of 195,000, an increase of 100 per 
cent in twenty years. Yet during the high water of 1903 one quarter 
of this basin was under water and one half of the city of Greenville 
inundated ; traffic was suspended for twenty days, and one third of 
the inhabitants (65,000) were driven from their homes. And 
even with the best of levee protection cities located on the river 
have unique problems to solve. Thus in New Orleans the domestic 
water supply is largely rains, and the old cemeteries are constructed 
of masonry above ground. The city cannot empty its sewage into 
the Mississippi because the houses are below the top of the river's 
banks and storm water runs not toward the river but back through 
the streets to the adjoining swamps (fig. 6). Under such conditions 
it is not surprising that the construction of an adequate sewerage 
system was so long delayed and that, as a result, the history of the 
city is marred by a succession of epidemics. 

1 Brown, M Protection of the Alluvial Basin of the Mississippi," Pop. Sci. Mo., 
September, 1906. 


In spite of evident disadvantages the soil, climate, and especial 1\ 
the location of the Mississippi flood plain are so favorable that vari 
ous plans for a great inland water way along the Mississippi valley 
have been presented. Those which give greatest promise of success 
are the following : 

1. To give the river an entirely new course free from bends. 
This scheme has been successfully carried out in the cases of the 
Main, the Elbe, the Seine, and parts of the Ohio, but in the case of 
the Mississippi it would be an enormously expensive operation and 
one of doubtful success. 

2. The construction of artificial outlet channels leading directly to 
the Gulf, which, if sufficient in number, would be effective ; destroy- 
ing, however, a large amount of arable land and defeating one of the 
chief objects of river control, namely, the protection of plantations on 
the river bottoms. 

3. Building a series of reservoirs at the head waters of the chief 
tributaries, where the floods could be controlled and a uniform amount 
of water maintained in the main stream. This third plan is feasible 
and probably the most certain and least expensive. 

45. Deltas. Much of the sediment of rivers is deposited along 
their courses as sand bars and flood plains, but much also reaches the 
sea or inland water bodies, accumulating at river mouths in the form 
of widespread plains or deltas, submerged or partly exposed above 
water level. In large rivers deltas are the continuation of flood plains 
and possess much the same characteristics as deposits farther inland. 
They vary in size from minute, fanlike structures to enormous ex- 
panses, capable of supporting millions of people. The Nile delta is 
90 miles wide by 180 miles long. The Ganges delta has a front of 
220 miles and extends 200 miles inland. The Orinoco delta has an 
area of 7000 square miles (larger than New Jersey). The deposit at 
Calcutta is at least 500 feet deep, and a well sunk at New Orleans 
brought up driftwood from a depth of 1042 feet. The Rhine, whose 
delta is 80 miles long, together with the Meuse, the Sambre, and the 
Scheldt, forms the great plain of the Netherlands. The head of the 
Adriatic is fringed by delta deposits, which have grown from 2 to 20 
miles since the time of Augustus ; and Ravenna, originally on a lagoon 
like Venice, is now 4 miles inland. Where deltas emerge as a result 
of deposition or coast elevation they furnish arable land of extreme 
fertility and ease of cultivation. Two thirds of the Mississippi delta 
(12,300 square miles, — 7,872,000 acres) is above water at its ordi- 
nary level and is growing seaward at the rate of one mile in sixteen 



years. It is covered with plantations of sugar, rice, cotton, and cy- 
press excellent for lumber (fig. 6). The delta of the Hwang-ho — 
"China's sorrow" — extends 400 miles along the coast and 300 
miles inland (see map, fig. 11). It is extremely fertile and densely 
populated (over 800 per square mile). The river which forms this 
delta is so changeable that it is useless for navigation, and its waters 
are restrained only by an elaborate system of dikes and canals of 
great length. The first complete abandonment of its channel is sup- 
posed to have been in 2293 B.C., the second in 602 b.c. Since then 


Fig. 11. Delta of the Hwang-ho 

the river has changed its course many times by reason of increasingly 
frequent floods and of the fact that less care has been taken to pre- 
vent them ; and we find disastrous overflows recorded in 1820, 1858, 
and 1887. During the last inundation many villages were destroyed, 
completely or temporarily, and the loss of life through drowning and 
famine exceeded 1,200,000 people, considerably more than the entire 
population of West Virginia. 

An illustration of the capriciousness of streams and of the difficulty 
of adapting deltas to the use of man is furnished by the Colorado 
River (fig. 12). The lower part of this stream has few branches for 



300 miles. The supply of silt from the canyons and mountains of 
the upper basin amounts at times, however, to over a million tons per 
day ; at Yuma, from September, 1903, to August, 1904, 95,000,000 
tons were carried, and the silt transported annually is sufficw 

: ^0m 






/: ■/./■/■ • \.\ \ \ 

- / f I I . \ 

I I 


o 1 

Fig. 12. Colorado Delta Region. (From the National Geographic • 
Delta represented by broken radial lines 

cover 53 square miles 1 foot deep with alluvium. Centuries ago the 
Gulf of California extended 1 50 miles farther west than now. 
point beyond Indio and up the present valley to Yuma. On the 
side of this extension of the Gulf the Colorado built up a delta so 


large that it reached the opposite side. North of it a salt-water lake 
was left completely detached from the Gulf, — a lake which has since 
been reduced by evaporation to the small Salton Sink. The soil in 
part of this depressed area of the old lake bed is favorable for agricul- 
ture, and the climate is unusually propitious for fruit growing. An 
effort to obtain water from the Colorado River for irrigation of the 
i ,000,000 acres of the Imperial valley (fig. 1 2) gave the stream an 
opportunity to regain its old channel on the north side of the delta. 
An 8-foot irrigation canal, constructed in October, 1904, was, by 
April of the following year, scoured out by the river to 100 feet and 
finally to over 300 feet in width. On June 30, 1905, 22 per cent of 
the river was passing through this canal, by July 8 this amount had 
increased to 67 per cent, and during the last week of October the 
river abandoned its old channel and took up the widened irrigating 
ditch for its regular route, thus discharging its water into the Salton 
Sink. Before the close of 1905 a lake had been formed 45 miles 
long, 10 to 18 miles wide, and 23 feet deep, and was rising at the 
rate of one half to three fourths of an inch daily. In 1906 arable land 
to the extent of 700,000 acres and 150 miles of railroad track in the 
Salton valley were in danger, 1 and when the region about Yuma and 
the government irrigation works were taken into account the possible 
loss was estimated at from $350,000,000 to $70o,ooo,ooo. 3 Steps 
were immediately taken to force the river to regain its former channel. 
Dams built in the early part of 1906 were destroyed by the spring 
flood, and the heavy discharge of May, June, and July extended the 
river into the populated districts. Later a million-dollar plan was 
made for the construction of a new channel, and a 500-foot embank- 
ment was commenced, but by October practically the whole river 
was again flowing through the gates. On February 11, 1907, the 
break in the Lower Colorado was at last closed by the energy and 
persistence of the Southern Pacific Railway Company, backed by the 
United States government. A force of a thousand men working day 
and night, the resources of a great corporation and an appropriation 
of millions of dollars were necessary to prevent this river even tem- 
porarily from pursuing its ancient course. 

46. Coastal plains. Elevation of the shore line (§ 2) results in 
increasing the continental areas by adding a fringe of land recovered 
from the sea. This new land is a coastal plain and in structure 

1 Eleven towns in southern California are from 22 to 265 feet below the level 
of the sea. 

2 Message of President Roosevelt, 1905. 


possesses the characteristics associated with continental shelves, namelj 
a fairly uniform surface with seaward slope, the surface materia] 
sisting of sands, gravels, and silts. Such is the structure of the | 
coastal plain extending from New York to Florida, which may « 
as a type for similar forms throughout the world. Delaware, parte oi 
Maryland, and half of New Jersey are composed of stretches erf sands 
and clays recently recovered from the sea. Farther south the same 
conditions prevail. The plain of Virginia, east of a line from Wash 
ington to Petersburg, is deeply incised by the bays, inlets, and creeks 
of the " tide-water country." In North Carolina this plain is ioo miles 
wide, increasing to 150 miles in South Carolina. So flat is the conn 
try and, in places, so low, that roads may extend long distances with- 
out bends and water may stand in swamps on the surface. "The 
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad has a stretch of 40 miles in which 
there is neither curve nor embankment." 1 The inner edge of the 
Atlantic coastal plain is indicated by a line of cities, which have been 
located in response to topographic control. Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Wilmington, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Camden, Columbia, 
Augusta, etc., are located at the contact of the old land with the newly 
added plain. Such a location is favorable for manufacturing (J 270) 
because of the presence of falls or rapids where the rivers leave the 
old hard rock and enter the soft material of the coastal plain ; and also 
for commercial centers because of the necessity for transshipment of 
goods, and because the products of two unlike areas find here their 
natural center of exchange. A coastal plain may consist of parallel 
belts hundreds of square miles in extent, or of narrow fringes of land. 
The eastern coastal plain of Mexico, in the neighborhood of Vera 
Cruz, is 50 miles wide, and the eastern border of the uplands of 
India has about the same width. The Oregon plain, near Port Or- 
ford, is 1 to 5 miles wide. The great coastal plain of Argentina, on 
the other hand, has a width of over 100 and a length of over 1000 
miles. The eastern part of England is an illustration of a CO 
plain belonging to a geological age now long past. 

Coastal plains offer certain special advantages for settlement. They 
possess a large extent of arable land, easily tilled ; travel back and 
forth across them is not difficult ; there is ready access to harbors : 
and owing to their underlying structure, artesian water may usual 1\ 
be obtained. On the other hand, harbors bordering coastal plains 
often poor, and the soil covering the plain may be markedly deficient 

!The Transandine Railroad extends for more than 200 miles across the coastal 
plain of Argentina in a straight line. 


in plant food ; so while, in the aggregate, the coastal-plain population 
of the world is large, it is because the acreage of coastal plain is great 
rather than that conditions on these plains are favorable for supporting 
a large number on a small area. 

47. Plains of denudation. All land above sea level is constantly 
being worn down by the atmosphere, winds, rain, rivers, glaciers, 
waves, shore currents, etc. These agencies cannot reduce the land 
surface below sea level, and the final result of their activity is there- 
fore a more or less uniform surface with but little elevation above the 
sea. Level surfaces made in this manner are plains of denudation 
and are carved out of other land forms either by the action of the 
forces that work on the land or by the waves of the sea, and because 
of this method of origin they rarely show the uniformly level char- 
acter exhibited by other plains, but instead are marked by residual 
hills and ridges of harder material rising somewhat above the general 
level. 1 Plains of denudation produced by weathering and removal 
of land surface are called subaerial, while those worn down by the 
gradual encroachment of waves are plains of marine denudation. 
Central Russia is an example of the former and narrow portions of 
southeast Africa of the latter. 

Since plains of denudation are the result of erosion of mountains 
or plateaus or other elevated lands, their present surface often consists 
of rock which formerly was deep within the earth, and the soil cover- 
ing is not the fine-textured and stratified sedimentary deposits of river 
and tide, but consists of rock masses more or less decomposed. The 
residual soils of the piedmont belt of Virginia and the blue-grass re- 
gion of Kentucky, formed in the latter way,» are widely different in 
origin, texture, composition, and productivity from the transported 
soils of southern Texas or the Missouri bottoms. 

48. Alluvial plains. A sediment-laden stream deposits its load 
when its velocity is sufficiently decreased. This is observed in all 
streams, but is particularly noticeable where a valley is marked by ab- 
rupt change from high to low grade, for example, where a precipitous 
gorge opens upon a plain. This sudden loss of power compels the 
stream to deposit its burden of rock and silt at the point where the 
gorge joins the plain. Under normal conditions, in humid regions, 
the master stream is competent to remove the waste supplied by the 
tributaries. But if the supply is excessive, as in steep mountain valleys, 
or the main stream weakened, as in arid regions, an accumulation of 
waste is left at the river's mouth, — a half-conical pile with its base in 

1 Such a surface is also called a peneplain (that is, almost a plain). 



Fig. 13. Distribution of Population in Utah 

the valley and its apex at the mouth of the gorge. Such an accumu- 
lation of debris is an alluvial cone or fan ; or, if of gentle grade, an 
alluvial slope. Many villages in mountain valleys rest on such fans 
or slopes ; and in desert regions fans usually determine the location 
of oases, — for water is found here if anywhere, — the texture of the 
soil is favorable for agriculture, and the gentle slopes of the fan make 
easy the construction of irrigation ditches. Many cities in Persia and 


Turkestan are located on fans, and the distribution of the plateau popu- 
lation of Bolivia and Peru is, to an important degree, controlled by these 
forms. A striking example of this control is seen in Utah, where the 
population is grouped in settlements, forming a line along the west base 
of Wasatch Mountains (fig. 13). In this case the population would be 
confined to an even narrower zone if the shifting settlements of the 
mining camp were eliminated from the census (fig. 13, a). Alluvial 
fans may become alluvial slopes of many square miles in area, and a 
continuous supply of material may result in uniting these slopes and 
covering an entire lowland with the debris of mountain torrents, thus 
converting the isolated fans or slopes into a great piedmont alluvial 
plain} The valley of California, through which flow the Sacramento 
and the San Joaquin, may be taken as an example. This plain, 400 
miles long by 50 miles wide, has been built from the waste of border- 
ing mountains, — the Sierra Nevada on the east and the Coast Range 
on the west. Great fans, 10, 20, and 40 miles in radius, have been 
formed by the Kern, Kings, Merced, Tuolumne, Feather, and many 
lesser streams. These have carried in so much material that the allu- 
vium is in places 2000 feet in depth, with coarser deposits at the edges 
and finer silts of slow-moving streams toward the center. The great 
alluvial plain of the Po — the agricultural and industrial center of 
Italy — has been built forward from the Alps on the north and the 
Apennines on the south. The flat Ganges valley has a similar origin, 
and Kashmir, a waste-filled valley of 2000 square miles, is the type 
of many alluvial plains among mountains. 


49. Introductory. The plateau is a moderately level land surface 
lying at a considerable elevation above the sea. No definite size or 
altitude is, however, to be assumed, for in a region of generally low 
elevation a level stretch of land of large area, less than 2000 feet above 
the sea, may be called a plateau ; and, on the other hand, the Staked 
" Plains " of western Texas attain an altitude of more than 4000 feet. 

Plateaus, like plains, may be the result of deposition, uplift, or 
denudation. Some great plateaus are formed by the accumulation of 
flows of lava, which continue through long periods and pile up ma- 
terial to a great thickness. The Deccan, of India, is a lava plateau, as 
are parts of Abyssinia ; and the great Columbia plateau of Idaho and 
Oregon, 3000 to 6000 feet above the sea, is capped by sheets of lava 

1 All river-made plains are, of course, alluvial, but the term is here restricted for 
the sake of distinctness. 


having a combined thickness of over 2000 feet. Like plains, plateaus 
may consist of horizontal rock, as in the case of the Colorado plateaus, 
the Cumberland plateau, and the great table-lands of Arabia arid 
southern India. The New England plateau, on the other hand, is 
an elevated peneplain worn, by long ages of erosion, out of igneous 
and metamorphic rocks having the most complex structure. The 
plateau of central Mexico is a waste-filled valley from 5000 to 8000 
feet above the sea. 

50. Dissection of plateaus. Because of their elevadon above the 
sea, plateaus are attacked by the atmosphere, by rivers, and by other 
agents of destruction, — a process which results in a thorough dissec- 
tion of the level-topped area, producing deep valleys with intervening 
ridges and hills. Complicated systems of stream valleys may have re- 
moved large portions of the rock mass constituting the plateau, and 
the original surface be represented only by the higher peaks and 
ridges. Thus the Allegheny plateau of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, 
and Tennessee is no longer a typical level surface lying at a consid- 
erable altitude, but a surface thoroughly dissected, so that valleys and 
hill slopes are more abundant than flat-topped areas. Before denuda- 
tion has reached this stage plateaus are cut by a series of steep-walled 
canyons, particularly in arid regions where atmospheric erosion is lim- 
ited and the power of the stream is relatively great. The plateau 
region of Arizona and Utah, cut by the Colorado River and its tribu- 
taries, is practically a broken floor extending for hundreds of miles 
and marked here and there by deep river gorges whose presence is 
scarcely perceptible until one finds himself at the top of a steep wall 
rising from the stream beneath. In the later life of a plateau the 
valleys are widened and their interstream spaces cut down until iso- 
lated mesas or buttes stand on a plain as landmarks indicating the 
height, extent, and structure of the former highland surface. 

51. Plateaus and man. The suitability of plateaus for settlement 
depends chiefly upon climate, but partly also on age and amount of ele- 
vation. Dissected plateaus (§50) are unfavorable because of the prev- 
alence of hill slopes and the difficulties of communication. Tunnels 
can be built through mountains, but it is not practicable to bridge ex- 
cessively wide and deep canyons, and where mineral wealth has not 
acted as an artificial stimulus to the growth of population, plateaus are 
regions occupied by peoples of limited commercial development. The 
Kentucky and Tennessee mountaineers and the Scotch Highlanders 
have developed into unique types of mankind, largely as a consequence 
of their difficult and peculiar surroundings. 


As to their climate, plateaus are generally characterized by aridity 
(§ 120) and by marked daily ranges of temperature (§ 119). Owing 
to their climate, arctic plateaus are unfit for habitation, for example, 
Greenland. In the temperate zones the winds (§ 114), position of 
mountain chains (§ 115), and other climatic factors may produce local 
humid areas in the midst of general aridity. On the whole, however, 
the plateaus in this zone are adapted only to sparse population, one 
supported largely by artificial irrigation. The result of the precarious 
means of support may be seen in the stunted and unprogressive 
Indian groups on the broken plateaus of the southwestern part of 
the United States. 

In the tropics plateaus are at a premium and furnish much more 
favorable conditions than coastal plains, flood plains, or wide river 
valleys. The climate of high plateaus in Africa and South America 
is extremely congenial, and where sufficient water is obtainable they 
support a considerable population. Cochabamba and Sucre in Bolivia, 
at an elevation of 8500 feet, as also the highlands of Ecuador, 8500 
feet, contain the bulk of the population of those countries. In these 
cases the mountain ranges are so elevated that the plateau districts 
might well be considered as valleys among high mountains. 


52. Introductory. Mountains are unusual elevations of the land 
and are distinguished from hills only by their relative height and im- 
portance. Thus some of the "mountains" forming landmarks on the 
high plains of Texas are under 200 feet in height ; Stone Mountain, 
in Georgia, rises only 630 feet above the surrounding country ; it is, 
however, a prominent topographic feature. On the other hand, the 
Black "Hills" of South Dakota rise 2000 to 3000 feet above the 
plain and over 7000 feet above the sea. With the exception of vol- 
canoes, mountains rarely occur as single masses or peaks, but are 
composed of a bewildering variety of scenic features, — cliffs, ridges, 
gorges, peaks, valleys, etc. 

53. Origin of mountains. Mountains are to be considered funda- 
mentally as parts of the earth's crust which have been uplifted to an 
unusual height. This uplift is the result of pressure due to minor ad- 
justments of strain and load in the outer part of the earth, and may 
be exerted in such manner that strata thousands of feet in thickness 
are squeezed together, folded, and elevated ; or that portions of the 
crust hundreds of miles or only a few hundred feet in width are broken 


and forced high above the neighboring land. The Juras are a good 
illustration of mountains made by folding up portions of the earth's 
crust, and so recently has this taken place that their origin is revealed 
by their structure. The strata forming the Appalachians have likewise 
been forced from their original horizontal position and folded into 
waves of great amplitude. However, the lateral pressure which formed 
these ranges was applied so far back in geological time that their 
original structure has been destroyed, and the present ridges and 
valleys bear little relation to the original uplift. Mountains made 
by crustal fracture and the upthrusting of blocks are typically illus- 
trated by many ranges in Nevada and southern California. 

54. The effect of erosion. To whatever height mountains may be 
thrust by movements within the earth's crust, they are never allowed 
to retain their original shape and structure. The atmosphere, rivers, 
and glaciers are continually at work upon them, attacking their weaker 
portions and carving them into a great variety of topographic forms. 
Mountains, therefore, as we ordinarily see them, and especially those 
most prominent, are the result not of original earth movements but 
of carving by agents of denudation. The more resistant rocks stand 
as cliffs, knobs, pinnacles, or needles, and thick strata may produce a 
precipice of great height. Mountain peaks — such as the Matterhorn, 
Mt. Washington, Pikes Peak, and Mt. Everest — are the parts re- 
maining after the surrounding material has been removed. Ridges 
are the portions left between river valleys, and all the various features 
of mountain scenery are forms carved by the rain and atmosphere 
from blocks furnished originally by uplifts of portions of the earth's 

55. Relation to man. So far as commerce is concerned, mountains 
are disadvantageous features. All the highest mountains are desert be- 
cause the temperature is constantly below freezing. The texture and 
composition of their soil may be favorable, but the presence of slopes 
prevents its accumulation and hastens its removal to the lowlands. 
Avalanches are liable to occur on any steep mountain slope, wiping 
out villages and burying arable land. Both because of their physical 
character and their climate mountains are formidable barriers, and 
have had great influence in preventing or checking or directing the 
migration of man. The conditions of life in mountains are hard, and 
these localities were regarded with such terror by early man that the 
tangled mass of valley and ridge, the home of glacier and torrent, wild 
beast and evil spirit, was rarely visited by him. The Greeks found 
it easier to work along the seashore than back across the Balkans, 


and land communication between India and China has been developed 
scarcely at all. So far as they are inhabited, lofty mountains, particu- 
larly outside of the tropics, are regions occupied by remnants of sub- 
dued races, not homes chosen by conquerors. The Sheepeater Indians 
of Yellowstone Park, the Indians on the Sheavwits plateau, and the 
isolated groups on the mesas of Arizona and New Mexico are rem- 
nants of races which have lost in the struggle with the stronger, more 
mobile tribes of the plains. The native British survivors of foreign 
invasions retreated to the Welsh mountains, becoming a distinct stock 
and retaining the language and character of the original inhabitants. 
The Basques of the Pyrenees valleys and the Svanetians of the inner 
Caucasus have retained their identity untouched by the great political 
changes which have gone on in Europe. 

56. Mountain passes. Low points through mountain ranges are 
usually at the upper ends of valleys where the rivers have cut deep 
into the range, either passing entirely through or meeting a stream 
from the opposite side. If mountains are to be crossed at all, it must 
be by these passes, — which, in spite of careful selection, are often at 
great elevation, — and the existence of a suitable pass may therefore 
determine the route of travel and the direction of trade for a region 
(§ 296). The St. Gothard, Brenner, Mt. Cenis, and St. Bernard 
passes have been the lines of communication between Italy and north- 
ern Europe for 2000 years. Railroad tunnels have lowered passes, yet, 
in spite of marvelously daring engineering feats, the pass is still a 
formidable obstacle to surmount. The Andes are crossed by passes at 
elevations of 12,000 to 14,000 feet ; the historic Spanish pass at the 
base of Aconcagua has an elevation of 11,512 feet, and the Uspallata 
pass, between Chile and Argentina, of 12,600 feet. The tunnel on the 
Transandine line lies at an elevation of 10,400 feet, and even the 
St. Gothard tunnel is 3500 feet above the sea. The old route to 
Pittsburg from New York was up the Hudson and Mohawk rivers 
to Lake Ontario, and thence to Lake Erie and down the Allegheny, 
and it was not until 1880 that a railroad was built across the Appala- 
chians south of the Roanoke. For many years after the settlement 
of California it was found more convenient to ship goods and passen- 
gers 13,600 miles by way of Cape Horn than across the Rockies and 
Sierra ranges by a much shorter route, partly because most of the 
passes through the western highlands are at a considerable elevation. 
Thus the Central Pacific crosses the Sierras at a height of 7000 feet, 
the Denver and Rio Grande reaches 10,856 feet at Marshall Pass in 
the Rockies, while the Denver, Northwestern, and Pacific crosses the 



Front Range at the extreme elevation of 1 1,660 feet, — the highest 
point reached by a standard gauge railway in America. Khaibar Pass 
(elevation 3373 feet), between Peshawur and Jelalabad, is a narrow dr 
file in the Hindu Kush Mountains, and for ages was the chief gate- 
way between northern and southern Asia. The English hold this pass 
at great expense, but by so doing control the land access to India. 

57. Volcanic mountains. A volcano is any opening in the earth's 
crust through which molten material finds an escape to the surface. 
Usually the erupted material, either in liquid or fragmental form, is 
deposited about the vent in such a manner as to produce a definite 
mound or cone, but in many cases no cone is built and the lava is 
spread out over the surface as a plateau, the original vent being en- 
tirely concealed. Such lava flows from volcanoes may extend a great 
distance and cover wide areas. Thus the Snake and Columbia rivers 
cut through great sheets of lava, some of which have been poured out 
within the last hundred and fifty years. One continuous lava stream 
in this region is 50 miles long, 1 to 3 miles wide, and 300 feet deep. 

Volcanoes occur along lines of weakness in the earth's crust and may 
be either on land or beneath the sea. The island of Hawaii is a vol- 
cano over 30,000 feet in height, measured from the sea bottom. Many 
high mountains of the western United States — Rainier, Hood, Shasta, 
San Francisco, etc. — are volcanoes, as are also many prominent peaks 
of Mexico, Central America, South America, and other parts of the 
world. Volcanoes produce characteristic topographic forms as the 
result of their original activity and also as the result of the erosion 
peculiar to mountains of this type. During the period of activity a 
volcanic mountain may maintain its shape, or grow, but the forces of 
denudation are constantly at work, and when the volcano becomes dor- 
mant erosion begins to carve the mountain and, later, to remove it 
entirely from the landscape. Thus we have volcanoes in all stages of 
development : new cones, like Fujiyama, Orizaba, and Colima ; partly 
eroded masses like Shasta and Ararat ; worn-clown stumps like Mt. 
Taylor, New Mexico ; and mere traces of volcanoes, determined by the 
character of the rock, as in Maine and in northern England. 

From the standpoint of man volcanoes are destructive agents, but 
at the same time they furnish material for productive soil. Destruc- 
tion of life may result from the expulsion of large quantities of steam, 
gas, and ashes, which no living form can withstand, or the streams 
of hot rock themselves may be the destructive agents. Herculaneum, 
Pompeii, and St. Pierre were completely annihilated by ashes and 
floods of scalding mud, and the island of Krakatoa was rent asunder 


and 40,000 people killed by an eruption which produced no lava. 
The great volcanoes of Iceland erupt such quantities of lava as to 
form streams filling the river valleys. The molten rock from Skaptar 
Jokull (1783) covered plains and habitable valleys to such an extent 
that out of a total population of 50,000 over one sixth (9000) of 
the inhabitants perished. The emigration from Iceland in 1873 was 
caused by a second eruption. Not all volcanic action, however, is 
destructive, for the soil resulting from decomposition of volcanic 
material is rich in plant food and, where water is supplied, furnishes 
choice agricultural land. Climate, however, is the controlling factor 
in fixing agricultural values, and while the devastating ashes of Pelee 
and Vesuvius are quickly converted into agricultural lands, the ash 
deposits of Arizona support only a scanty flora. The soils of Java 
and of Idaho are weathered from similar volcanic rocks, but Java is 
a tropical garden and portions of Idaho a desert waste. 


58. Origin and history. Depressions between ridges, hills, and 
mountains are known as valleys. They may be a foot in width or 
may cover thousands of square miles, may be well-watered " plains " 
or arid lowlands, may be traversed by an ephemeral stream or by a per- 
manent river of great volume. Valleys sometimes occupy depressions 
between folds or giant blocks of the earth's crust produced in moun- 
tain building (§ 53). The Jordan valley of Palestine is an illustration 
of water courses having this origin. Depressions of this type are, 
however, rare, and practically all valleys have been made by running 
water and usually by the particular streams now occupying them. 

The process of valley formation is a slow one and many factors 
enter into the problem. The tendency of upland streams is to cut 
steep-sided ditches and to intrench themselves in the land, — to flow 
in gorges like those of the Niagara and the upper Yellowstone. 
Weathering, however, goes hand in hand with downcutting, and 
though in the earlier life of the river direct erosion is more rapid 
because confined within narrow limits, the time comes when down- 
cutting is checked and weathering assumes a predominant r6le, caus- 
ing the steep-sided gorge of the young valley to broaden and the 
canyon walls to melt away until finally they merge imperceptibly into 
the plain. The rapidity of both weathering and downcutting is 
affected by the character of the rocks which they meet and by the 
climate. In general, valleys develop more slowly in sandstone than 



in limestone. The valleys of arid regions widen with extreme slow- 
ness ; they remain young for a longer time and present a much more 
angular topography than valleys of humid regions. 

After a stream has become established the shape of its valley de- 
pends upon (i) the character of the surrounding rock, and (2) the 
length of time that the stream has been running in that position ; 
and all the great variety of gorge, waterfall, open stretch, flood plain, 
and lake seen along the river's course is to be considered as monu- 
ments left by the stream, — a record of the work it has done and of 
the number of years it has been in existence. The influence of com- 
position and attitude of rock may be seen in valleys of different 
regions or in different parts of the same valley. Thus the Danube 
wanders across the Hungarian and Roumanian plains as a wide val- 
ley with scarcely perceptible borders, but at Orsova it passes through 
the gorge of the Iron Gate. The Connecticut, at Hartford, occupies 
a valley which is scarcely distinguishable from a plain, but at Middle- 
town it enters a gorge in the rock and cuts a narrow path for itself 
to the sea. The stream has been in both these localities for the same 
length of time, but the sandstone at Hartford is much more easily 
eroded than the crystalline rocks of the Haddam region. 

The influence of age on the shape of a river valley is readily ap- 
preciated when type localities are examined in detail. Young valleys 
are steep-sided gorges, deep or shallow, depending upon the height 
above sea. They have few tributaries ; the valleys themselves are nar- 
row, the divides between them wide. Their courses are marked by 
waterfalls, rapids, and lakes, and they give evidence of having done 
relatively little to drain the land and to reduce the irregular surface to 
a plain. Many of the smaller valleys of New England and Canada 
are young, the Colorado is young, and the great St. Lawrence system 
is markedly immature. 

By the time they have reached maturity valleys have broadened 
and the divides have become sharp, so that every drop of rain finds 
a way already prepared to lead it to a stream and thence to the ocean, 
for nearly every square mile of land is reached by some tributary. 
Lakes are absent, waterfalls are rare, and the stream has become 
graded. Such valleys abound in the dissected plateau of West Vir- 
ginia, where the characteristic of the country is slope, not hilltop or 
valley floor. 

Old valleys have a low gradient, their valley bottoms are wide, 
their divides narrow and low. Lakes, rapids, and waterfalls are 
absent ; the stream is sluggish, meanders across the plain, and 


deposits material instead of cutting its bed. The hills of maturity 
have melted away to gentler slopes, and increasingly finer waste is 
being supplied. 

59. Valleys and man. Valleys are natural lines of communication 
by boat, by roads along the banks, and by canals and railroads par- 
alleling the streams. This is particularly the case in plateaus and 
mountains, where, in order to reach the passes, valleys must be fol- 
lowed up. From the standpoint of man valleys in different stages 
of development have various advantages and disadvantages. A plain 
cut by new valleys with wide interstream spaces affords the largest 
acreage of arable land. In old age, where valley bottoms and gentle 
slopes abound, the amount of agricultural land is again increased, 
while in early maturity, because of steep slopes and easily washed soil, 
agricultural conditions are most unfavorable. Cities in such locations 
are limited to a narrow belt of land between the stream and the base 
of the hills, as at Ems, Prussia, and Charleston, West Virginia. For 
land routes the canyon bottoms of young streams are not feasible, 
but in a mature state the topography forces roads to follow the val- 
leys or the crests of ridges. For water navigation young rivers are 
unavailable because of their rapids and falls, and streams that have 
reached old age are subject to blocking by silt. Water power is at its 
best on young rivers, for while older and larger streams may possess 
greater energy, they are less easily controlled, and may be set aside 
for use in navigation. Floods are more abundant on mature land 
surfaces and more disastrous where wide-bottomed valleys have been 
developed by old-age streams. 

An illustration of the relation between highland and valley is pre- 
sented in the history of Connecticut, where the uplands were settled 
at an early date and are still occupied by decaying villages. The 
growth of population has, however, been in the valleys, where manu- 
facturing cities have sprung up rapidly and drawn the men from the 
hill towns. At one time the residents of Waterbury climbed the hills 
to Wolcott to purchase supplies. Waterbury is now the chief brass- 
manufacturing city of the world, and Wolcott has scarcely enough 
population to support a post office. The concentration of population 
in valleys is shown by an examination of maps and census reports. 
Eighteen of the twenty-one principal cities and towns in Indiana are 
founded on alluvial land, and half of the population of Iowa is con- 
fined to alluvial plains. The same condition holds true in Missouri 
and Ohio, while two thirds of the cities and towns of Pennsylvania 
are located on river banks. Brigham calls attention to the fact that, 



of 41 communities of the rank of city in New York, 1 1 are on the 
Hudson and 6 on the Mohawk, and that four fifths of the population 
and nine tenths of the wealth of that state are contained in the coun- 
ties bordering the Hudson River and Erie Canal. From statistics of 
the eleventh census, from which these facts were taken, McGee es- 
timated that " fully 25 per cent or 30 per cent of the population of 
the eastern United States is crowded upon the 14 per cent of alluvial 
lowland. 1 

Sand Dunes 

60. Wind-formed hills of any shape whatever are termed dimes. 
They rarely occur singly, but usually in groups, forming a small 
collection of ridges, mounds, or hummocks, or an undulating surface 
covering hundreds of square miles. They may lie in long parallel 
ridges like the waves of the sea, or be arranged in irregular order, 
and they vary in height from a few inches to over 400 feet. The 
most favorable conditions for their formation are where unobstructed 
winds blow over a plain covered by fine material and unprotected by 
plant covering ; accordingly they are characteristic features of shore 
lines and of arid regions. Dunes travel in the direction of prevailing 
winds and form and re-form as time goes on, and it is to the wind 
that they owe their present position and their details of structure. 
The sweep of wind across the water is unobstructed, and in the con- 
struction of beaches a great amount of finely ground material is fur- 
nished in a form suitable for aerial transportation. The sands of the 
beaches are driven inland, and in their march landward they may 
completely obliterate previous topography, burying the original soil 
and destroying forests and the works of man. On the west coast of 
France a belt of dunes 50 to 80 feet high and 3 miles in width is 
advancing inland at a rate of 30 to 60 feet per year. Streams tribu- 
tary to the sea are blocked and forced to run parallel with the coast 
line, forming large inland lakes. 2 For a distance of 100 miles, be- 
tween the mouth of the Gironde and the Mimizan, there are only two 
places where the water has an outlet to the ocean. The sand dunes 
on this coast extend for 1 50 miles, from Biarritz to Point de Grave, 
and include 500 square miles of desert. In Holland the shifting 
dunes of the coast, which range from 40 to 50 feet in height, form 
a belt 1 to 3 miles wide, which stands as a wall to protect the Nether- 
lands from the sea. The entire island group of Bermuda consists of 
shell sand, which has been gathered from ancient beaches by the wind. 

1 The Forum, April. 189T. p. 225. 2 Wheeler, The Sea Coast, p. 54. 


The migration of dunes may result in completely destroying forests 
and buildings, — passing entirely over them and leaving the ruins be- 
hind. At Dune Park, Indiana, the shifting sand hills bordering Lake 
Michigan are now exposing dead trees which were overwhelmed, 
buried, and again resurrected. On the coast of Prussia a pine forest 
of several hundred acres was completely destroyed between 1 804 and 
1827, and a church on the Kurische Nehrung was completely buried 
in drifting sand in 1839, to be revealed again only after a lapse of 
thirty years. At certain points in New Jersey, within the lifetime of 
the present inhabitants, orchards have been buried so completely that 
only the tops of trees are now exposed. 

It is important to man that the shifting sands, represented in dunes, 
should be controlled, and a large amount of money has been spent in 
devising means to this end. Forests and certain selected types of 
grass have been planted in the sand, rendering it more difficult for the 
wind to take hold. On the coast of the Bay of Biscay over 200,000 
acres of sand dunes have been planted with pine. Near the mouth of 
the Vistula, Prussia has planted 14,000 acres in forests, and parts of 
the sand hills of Nebraska have been treated in a similar way. On 
low-lying coasts dunes act as a wall to ward off the attack of the sea, 
and in such regions effort is made to keep them in position and to 
increase their height and length by means of artificial works. 


61. The United States as a whole. The United States as a whole, 
with the exception of Florida and southern Texas, is included between 
parallels 30 and 50 of north latitude, a position which accounts for 
its climate and weather, the character of its products, and, in a general 
way, for the commercial activities of its population. Topographically, 
it consists of a great central lowland area bordered on the east by 
narrow highlands and on the west by plateaus and mountains which 
make up one of the largest and most diversified highland regions of 
the world. In fact, the western uplands are so prominent and occupy 
such a large area that the United States might be viewed as divided 
into two parts by the 100th meridian, the eastern part being a low- 
land plain with slight elevations, — the Appalachian Mountains rising 
above it, — and the western part occupying nearly half of the area of 

1 This treatment of the physiographic provinces of the United States is made very 
general, since the purpose is to bring out clearly the broad geographic controls in 
American commerce. 



the country, standing at an elevation of 4000 to 6000 feet, with large 
areas over 10,000 feet, and about 50 peaks, including volcanoes, reach- 
ing an elevation of 14,000 feet. The shore line which bounds the 
country has on the Pacific and the northern Atlantic border the irregu- 
larity characteristic of depressed coasts, while a typical coastal plain 
stretches from New Jersey to the Mexican border. 

The climate of the United States is characteristic of the north tem- 
perate zone, being controlled largely by the prevailing westerlies with 
their cyclonic storms of great variation in speed and direction. The 
character of these winds, together with latitude and topography, de- 
termines the amount of heat received during the year by the differ- 
ent parts of the country. They are also responsible for the fact that, 
with the exception of California, the United States has four seasons, 
based on temperature. The warm states, that is, those in which the 
mean annual temperature is 6o° or above, include South Carolina, 
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, northern 
New Mexico, Arizona, and a large part of California. The temperate 
states (mean annual temperature, between 50 and 6o°) include all 
of the middle Atlantic section, the Ohio valley, Tennessee, Missouri, 
Kansas, Oklahoma, the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana, and 
southeast Colorado. The cold states (mean annual temperature be- 
tween 40 and 50 ) consist of New England, the region bordering 
the Great Lakes, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and all 
the states of the western-highland area. The lowest actual tempera- 
ture has been recorded at Miles City, Montana, —65 (January, 1888), 
and the highest, 130 , at Mammoth Tank, California (August 17, 
1885). North Dakota has an absolute range of 150 , Key West of 
59 . With the exception of the higher mountain tops, no part of the 
United States is permanently too cold for vegetation ; on the other 
hand, there is no state which has not been visited by frost. 

So far as agriculture is concerned, it is important to know the time 
of the first and last killing frosts of the year, for this gives the length 
of the growing season ; and since every plant species requires a certain 
sum total of heat in order to complete its growth, the length of the 
season will determine the type of product for each section. A study 
of the map l (fig. 1 4) will show that the length of the growing season 
varies considerably in different parts of the country. Thus the last 
frost to be expected at Phcenix, Arizona, is February 23, and the first 
frost of the fall is on December 3, making a growing season of almost 

1 This map, as well as other climatic data used in this chapter, is based upon 
Climatology of the United States, issued by the Weather Bureau. 




ten months ; while Augusta, Georgia, has a growing season of eight 
months (March 15 to November 15), central Vermont five months 
(May 1 5 to October 1 5), and North Dakota only four months (May 1 5 
to September 15). 

The mean annual rainfall varies from 2 inches to 105 inches, with 
extremes varying from 138 inches in Oregon to a mere trace of rain 
in the Salton desert. All of the region east of the 100th meridian 
has a good rainfall, and one which is favorably distributed throughout 
the year (§§ 121, 217). The great western-highland districts are de- 
ficient in precipitation, having less than 20 inches, an amount which 
decreases to 6-10 inches in Nevada, Utah, northern Arizona, and 
western Colorado, and reaches the extreme of 2 inches at the head 
of the Gulf of California. 

The soils of the United States include the great alluvial plains of 
California and the Mississippi valley, the drained lake beds of Minne- 
sota (§ 43), the loess deposits of the Missouri valley (§ 72), and the 
area of glacial soils occupying the northeastern part of the country 
(see fig. 15) and minor areas in the west. Elsewhere the soils are resid- 
ual (§ 72), reaching the extreme of fertility in the limestone soils of 
central Kentucky. 

The areas of the United States which are most marked in their 
control on settlement and development of commercial enterprises are 
the Atlantic coastal plain ; the Appalachian Mountains ; the central 
lowlands ; the western high plains ; the Rocky Mountains ; the area 
including the Columbia plateau, the Great Basin, and the Colorado 
plateaus ; and the Washington and California valleys (see fig. 15). 

62. Coastal plain. The uplifted Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain 
( § 46 ) is bordered by a fringe of sand reefs, used at the north for 
pleasure resorts and on the Carolina coast for the growth of the 
famous sea-island cotton (§ 226). The soil is arranged roughly in 
belts, comprising marly stretches forming rich agricultural land, and 
sandy stretches covered with trees used for lumber or resin. At the 
inner edge of the coastal plain is a narrow piedmont belt, the remains 
of worn-down mountains, which furnish valuable soil represented by 
choice agricultural lands in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. 
Two rows of cities mark the boundaries of the coastal plain, the 
western row located along the fall line (§ 46), and the eastern — 
Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah — on the seaboard. 
The region is well supplied with rain, reaching a maximum in late 
summer (fig. 16, b,c), during which season cyclonic storms are 
infrequent (§ 106). 


63. Appalachian Mountains. Under this general head may be 
included all the eastern highlands from the St. Lawrence to Georgia. 
The southern New England section is a peneplain, while the eastern 
part of the Appalachians proper consists of parallel ridges, and the 
western part is made up of the great dissected Allegheny plateau, 
comprising western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, 
and Tennessee (§ 50). This is not primarily an agricultural district, 
owing to the lack of level stretches easily tilled. New England, with 
its great water power, is the center of manufacturing (§ 269), The coal 
deposits of northeast Pennsylvania (anthracite) (§ 263), southwest Penn- 
sylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama (bituminous) (§ 263) 
are the basis for the great industrial development of those states, and 
are responsible for the fact that Pittsburg and Birmingham are cen- 
ters for the iron and steel industry. Except in the Cumberland, Shen- 
andoah, and Tennessee valleys mining and lumbering rather than 
agriculture are the industries of the Appalachian belt. This region 
receives its maximum precipitation in winter and spring, with a con- 
siderably smaller amount in autumn (fig. 16, d, e). 

64. Central lowlands. The central part of the United States, be- 
tween the Appalachians and the 100th meridian, is commercially a 
unit, and its business is the raising of wheat (§ 218), corn (§ 217), 
and cotton (§ 225). Since it is an agricultural section, its climatic 
boundaries and commercial boundaries coincide. With the exception 
of the Ozarks, Arbuckles, etc., the entire region is sensibly flat, and 
even the Great Lakes are practically portions of a gently sloping plain, 
not bodies of water set in deep depressions. As to soil, this region 
includes the glacial deposits of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Minne- 
sota, the loess of Iowa and Missouri, and the alluvial plain of the 
Mississippi, presenting a variety of fertile land matched in but few 
parts of the world. 

The rainfall of this district is 30-50 inches and is distributed most 
favorably for the needs of crops ; it is marked by extreme regularity 
on the Gulf coast, by a spring and fall maximum along the Lakes, and 
a slight increase in winter throughout the Ohio valley (fig. i6,f,g). 

Cyclonic storms are infrequent along the Gulf coast in summer, but 
farther to the north they are common throughout the year, for wher- 
ever storm centers originate they tend to pass out over the Great 
Lakes and down the St. Lawrence (§ 106). 

65. High plains. Under this head is included a more or less con- 
tinuous plateau extending from Canada to Mexico, bordered on the 
west by the Front Range of the Rockies and on the east by an 






















































































Fig. 16. Types of Rainfall in the United States 


indefinite wavy line at the 2000-foot contour. At the south the 
Staked Plains form one of the most level areas of its size in the 
world. Through Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota the plains are cut 
into sections by the streams draining the Rockies. Within this area 
are special departures from the plains type, such as the Nebraska 
sand hills, the Bad Lands, the Black Hills, and the volcanic knobs 
of Montana. Owing to deficient rainfall, agriculture has been only 
partially successful in this treeless district, but it includes the 
choicest grazing lands of the United States (fig. 16, i, and § 239). 

66. Rocky Mountains. Near the eastern border of the great west- 
ern highlands are the ranges of the Rocky Mountains, extending 
entirely across the country and forming the water parting between the 
Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Some of the valleys and "parks" of this 
region are centers of agricultural activity, especially of fruit growing, 
but level stretches of arable land are rare, the rainfall is scanty (fig. 
16, //), and the activities of man are chiefly concerned with mineral 

67. Western plateaus. Between the Rockies and the Sierra Ne- 
vada Mountains is a region of high plateaus with an area about one 
fifth of the entire United States. At the north is the Columbia 
plateau, built up of successive lava flows (§ 49). In the center, occu- 
pied by the states of Utah and Nevada, is a great basin of interior 
drainage, 150,000 square miles in area (§ 91) ; farther south are the 
Colorado plateaus, in southwestern Colorado, southern Utah, north- 
ern Arizona, and New Mexico, — an elevated area made up of a great 
series of broken blocks deeply trenched by streams. The entire re- 
gion is arid, and accordingly the population, everywhere sparse (1-6 
per square mile), is concentrated on oases and in narrow valleys 
where, with the aid of irrigation, crops may be produced (fig. 13). 
Mining, however, is the chief commercial pursuit. The rainfall of the 
Columbia plateau varies from 10 to 15 inches, the Great Basin has less 
than 1 o inches, and the Colorado plateau has a rainfall varying from 
24 inches at Flagstaff to 5 inches in southern Utah. Arizona and 
New Mexico are rarely visited by cyclonic storms, and what little rain 
falls comes largely in July and August, or is irregularly distributed 
(fig. 16, J, k). 

68. Pacific slope. Bordering the plateau districts on the west are 
the high narrow ranges of the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas. 
These mountains have a well-watered windward (westward) side, with 
a consequent growth of timber (§ 229), and an arid eastern exposure. 
With the exception of those engaged in mining, the population of the 


Pacific slope is concerned with the cultivation of two valleys, — the 
northern one extending south from Seattle and Vancouver, and the 
southern one occupying central California. The northern valley has 
a precipitation of 50 to 60 inches, and rain may be expected any day 
from October to May. The California valley has less than half as much 
rain, and the lowlands in the southern part of the state are practically 
rainless. The precipitation is distributed so as to make two seasons 
(fig. 16, /). 

Wheat, fruit, and wine are the products of this region, the for- 
mer going largely to Europe by way of Cape Horn, -and the fruit 
going eastward over the highlands to the continental interior and 
the Atlantic slope. 



69. Introductory. In order to occupy the earth, man must be sup- 
plied with food, and the evident source of his food is plants, or ani- 
mals, which, in turn, subsist upon plants. It is therefore essential 
that conditions should be right for the growth of a variety of vegeta- 
ble forms ; or, expressed in another way, it is of great importance to 
man that plants have learned to support themselves and to increase 
in number by taking advantage of their physical environment, — earth, 
water, air. Some low forms of vegetation, such as lichens and "rock 
tripe," are able to support life on bare rock surfaces, but most plants 
require loose earth in which to spread their roots. Soil, therefore, be- 
comes a fundamental geographic control in determining the extent and 
character of man's food supply. From it come the principal articles 
of commerce, and its tillage is the basis of civilization. 1 Man may 
subsist on uncultivated foods — such as nuts, fruits, and roots (cf. 
§233) — or on wild animals, but an increase of population and de- 
velopment of civilization imply an improvement of natural species 
(§ 158) and an intelligent cultivation of the ground. 

Soil is the covering of the earth, overlying solid rock as a sheet 
or mantle of waste ; it is a surface layer of decomposed rock which 
varies in depth from a few inches to several hundred feet, depending 
upon the climate, the character of the rock, and the length of time 
the soil has been forming. The moon has no soil, for it has no atmos- 
phere, and the solid, fresh rock from the quarry is likewise without a 
soil mantle. The hilltops of New England have a very thin covering 
of soil, because most of that which had been forming for ages was 
carried southward and into the sea by the continental glacier. In 
Georgia, on the other hand, the soil attains a depth of nearly a hun- 
dred feet ; in the tropics its . depth is even greater ; and on some 
alluvial plains the decomposed rock extends for a depth of over a 
thousand feet. All of the earth's surface above the sea is subject 
to soil formation because it is exposed to the atmosphere, whose 

1 In France 50 per cent of the population are engaged in agriculture, while statis- 
tics show 60 per cent in Spain, 90 per cent in Russia, 95 per cent in India, and 35 per 
cent in the United States. 


SOIL 67 

chemicals are effective in rock decomposition, and also to the mechan- 
ical action of wind, water, and ice. 

70. Physical processes. Rocks are shattered by sudden changes 
of heat and cold, by roots which force their way into crevices, and, in 
greater degree, by water which enters joints and cracks, visible and 
invisible, and which, upon freezing, breaks the rocks into innumer- 
able fragments, continually reducing their size and, at the same time, 
increasing the surface exposed to chemical action. Rocks are also 
eroded by glaciers which, because of their great weight and their slow 
but irresistible motion, are competent to crush rock fragments, grind 
bowlders to powder, transport ancient soil and new soil from place to 
place, and to cut grooves into the solid rock itself. The presence of 
glacial "rock flour" is responsible for the great fertility of the soil 
of southern Sweden, and a large part of the north temperate zone 
owes its soil to glacial agencies. Rivers likewise aid in soil-making. 
They wear the bottoms and sides of valleys, transport material and 
deposit it in the form of flood plains, fans, and deltas, making the rich- 
est, most easily tilled lands of the world. Winds also, when armed 
with sand grains and driven against ledges, are effective in reducing 
rocks to dust and may serve to transport loose material of all sorts, 
depositing it as dunes (§ 60) or as wide plains of fertile loess (§ 72). 

71. Chemical processes. The action of chemicals in rock decom- 
position is much more widespread and effective than all other forces 
combined, for the atmosphere and ground water are everywhere at 
work, producing chemical changes, and no part of the earth's surface 
is beyond their reach. Water, when it falls as rain, and, later, when 
it enters the ground or runs off in streams, is charged with certain 
acids which are able to decompose the firmest rock. The most effec- 
tive chemicals are carbon dioxide (C0 2 ), oxygen from the air, and 
various acids furnished by certain low forms of life or by decaying 
vegetation. Armed with these weapons, the water enters the ground 
through joints and crevices along channels furnished by roots, and 
even through rock itself ; and since no part of a ledge is able to 
withstand these chemically charged waters, all rocks gradually decay. 
Working in connection with physical processes, chemical agents tend 
to loosen the bonds which hold rocks together, to reduce rock masses 
to smaller and smaller fragments, until, finally, firm rock is converted 
into the unconsolidated, impure material recognized as soil. 

72. Classification of soils. Soils are of two main types : (1) resid- 
ual, those which have originated in the place where we now find them, 
and (2) transported, those which have been carried to their present 


resting place. Residual soils are the result of the decomposition of 
rock in place by the continued process of weathering, and they con- 
tain the minerals of the original rock, with the exception of those 
which have been removed by acid-laden waters. If the rock under- 
neath is granite, the soil will be decomposed granite ; if the bed rock 
is limestone, the soil will be weathered limestone. Limestone is so 
readily dissolved by ground water that its residual soil may consist 
partly or entirely of the impurities in the rock, and its fertility may 
be accordingly affected. The " red earth " of Bermuda and the red 
clays of the southern Appalachians are limestone soils of marked 
fertility, but in parts of Maryland it is necessary to supply lime to 
" limestone soils," so complete has been the removal of this easily 
dissolved substance. 

A quarry section through residual soil, extending from the surface 
to the unchanged rock below, shows the following divisions : (i) soil, 
usually gray or brown, rarely black or yellow, consisting of minute 
fragments of rock together with broken roots, leaves, etc. ; (2) sub- 
soil, much like the soil in texture, but usually different in color and 
containing less organic matter ; (3) a considerable amount of partly de- 
composed rock, increasing in solidity with the depth ; and, finally, (4) 
the firm rock itself, fresh enough to be used for building. The different 
parts of the section record the amount of chemical and physical de- 
composition. Examples of residual soils are the irrigated lava plains 
of Idaho and Washington, the Black Prairies of the cotton states, the 
laterite of India, and the famous " black earth " of Russia, which ex- 
tends from the valley of the Dnieper to the base of the Urals. 

Transported soils have been carried from their place of origin and 
deposited elsewhere, and are therefore much less uniform in texture 
and in composition than residual soil. They may consist of material 
collected from a wide area and may be totally unlike the bed rock on 
which they rest ; furthermore, there is no gradual transition from soil 
to ledge, but rather an abrupt change from loose soil to firm rock. 
Sometimes the transition is so sudden that rock suitable for building 
is in immediate contact with soil fit for agriculture. 

In accordance with their origin, transported soils are divided into 
three classes, — alluvial, glacial, and eolian. Alluvial soils are carried 
and deposited by streams, and consist, accordingly, of gravels, sands, 
and the finest silts. They constitute the soil of the flood plains, del- 
tas, and alluvial plains and valleys of the world (§§ 44, 45, 48). 
They are the most easily cultivated of all types of soil because of 
the absence of stones and because of their horizontal position, and 

SOIL 69 

they are ordinarily fertile, owing to the freshly ground mixture of 
rock and vegetable waste with which they arc annually supplied. 

Glacial soils exhibit a great variety of aspects and are of various 
degrees of fertility. The soil deposited directly by the ice, called till, 
is an unsorted mass of bowlders, pebbles, sand, and clay of all sizes 
and kinds. The material deposited by water from the melting ice is 
stratified drift, and though it varies greatly in size of grain, compo- 
sition, etc., it always shows evidence of sorting and deposition by 
running water. All classes of glacial soils show great variation in char- 
acter within short spaces, — spots of fine-textured fertile' soil alternat- 
ing with areas covered with large bowlders or with deposits of compact 
clay which serves as a matrix for numberless rock fragments. The 
same farm may contain till and stratified drift of several varieties, char- 
acterized by differences of texture, composition, and fertility, and the 
wide areas of uniform surface characteristic of regions covered by 
residual soil are unknown in glaciated districts. Scandinavia, Eng- 
land, northwestern Russia, as well as the great Baltic plain of Ger- 
many, are covered with glacial soil ; New England, New York, Ohio, 
Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Canada constitute one great 
sheet of ice-borne material ; and in addition to these continental areas, 
hundreds of mountain valleys owe their fertility to a vanished ice 
sheet. In parts of New England, bowlders of the till are so large and 
so abundant that agriculture is impossible, and the stony fields of 
New York, Ontario, and Scotland require special treatment. But in 
spite of variability and numberless bowlders the glacial soil of north- 
ern Ohio and Indiana is much more fertile than the residual soils of 
the southern parts of those states, and the drift of Illinois and Iowa 
includes some of the choicest farm lands of the world. 1 

Soils of eolian origin (that is, wind-made soils) are always fine tex- 
tured and owe their commercial value to their position and composition. 
The sand and dust carried by winds and molded into dunes is usually 
too loose and shifting for agricultural purposes, but sediments in re- 
gions of prevailing winds may be deposited in such manner as to 
make plains of easily tilled soil. 2 Such wind-made soil, usually called 
loess, is of great agricultural value, and makes up the rich lands of the 
upper Hwang-ho, much of the corn belt soil (§ 217) of Nebraska, 
Iowa, and Missouri, as well as some of the choice farming lands of 
the Danube, Rhine, and many smaller valleys. 

1 The portion of the United States covered with glacial soil is shown in fig. 15. 

2 The amount of dust carried by winds is very great; a storm in the Sahara (Algeria) 
in 1901 deposited 1,800,000 tons of dust over Europe, extending even to Russia. 


Talus soil. The sides of hills and the lower faces of cliffs in tem- 
perate regions are usually covered with fragments broken from the 
ledge above, and where the cliff has been thoroughly exposed to the 
action of weathering, these blocks form a slope of loose fragments ex- 
tending from the base to the summit. This material is the talus, the 
blocks of which are gradually decomposed to soil and occupied by a 
variety of plant forms, particularly grapes and other fruit, which find 
on these slopes the greatest possible exposure to the sun. 

The classification given above is designed to explain those broad 
soil distinctions which have the most obvious control over the dis- 
tribution of agricultural products within a single climatic belt. From 
the standpoint of the practical farmer a much more detailed classi- 
fication is required, one in which not only origin but also composi- 
tion, texture, sun exposure, and, especially, water content are taken 
into account. 

73. Plant foods. Soils are composed of many different elements, 
but thus far plants have learned to make use of less than 20, and a 
still smaller number is required for ordinary plant development. Anal- 
yses show that even the richest alluvial soils may contain less than 5 
per cent of food directly available for plants. The following elements 
are absolutely necessary to support plant life, and a soil completely 
lacking in any one of them is infertile : oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, 
potash, lime, magnesia, phosphorus, sulphur, and carbon. Oxygen and 
hydrogen are derived from water, lime and magnesia from limestone 
and dolomite. The value of water is obvious, and the role played 
by lime and magnesia is shown by the fact that the ash from a grain 
of wheat contains 12 per cent of magnesia and 3 per cent of lime. 
Potassium is widely distributed in the earth's crust, constituting part 
of some of the most common minerals, — as feldspar and mica, — 
but it is so readily taken into solution and carried away by ground 
water that it is one of the critical factors of agriculture. Phosphorus 
from apatite or plant and animal remains, sulphur from pyrite and 
gypsum, together with nitrogen, form protoplasm, without which no 
plant life is possible. Nitrogen is absolutely essential for plant growth ; 
the supply of this gas in the atmosphere is unlimited, but the amount 
available in the soil is not, and accordingly the productivity of agri- 
cultural lands does not reach its highest point. To offset the defi- 
ciency of nitrogen, guano and other nitrate-bearing deposits are 
worked. The best of the manures containing available nitrogen is 
nitrate of soda, but at the present rate of consumption — one and 
one-half million tons per year (1905) — the known deposits will be 

SOIL 71 

exhausted in fifty years. 1 Any method, therefore, by which nitrogen 
can be drawn from the inexhaustible storehouse of the air is of the 
greatest importance to mankind. It is for this reason that the discovery 
of Hellriegel, in 1888, that certain bacteria which feed on the roots of 
plants supply the plants and the soil in which they stand with nitrogen 
from the air, was one of the greatest discoveries of modern times. 
These nitrogen-fixing germs are especially at home on the roots of peas, 
beans, alfalfa, and related plants ; and by. the addition of such germs 
the nitrogen content of the soil may be brought to the proper stand- 
ard, and the productivity of fields greatly increased. If the experiments 
now being conducted to extract nitrogen from the air by electrical 
processes are also successful, the yield of the world's agricultural lands 
may be multiplied a hundredfold. The importance of nitrogen in 
plant growth may be seen from the fact that a crop of oats yielding 60 
bushels per acre requires 73.3 pounds of nitrogen, and that there is 
in the average soil only enough nitrogen for 72 crops ; fields would 
therefore " run out " in less than one hundred years if their nitrogen 
content were not renewed. The carbon of the soil is obtained from the 
carbon dioxide of the air and occurs generally in the form of humus. 

In addition to these nine elements, which are absolutely essential 
to plant growth, there are a number of others which play minor 
roles. Iron, for instance, is necessary to develop green foliage, and 
salt seems essential for the transference of sap. 

74. Organic material in soil. Soils are primarily decomposed rock 
material, but agricultural soil is disintegrated rock plus organic ma- 
terial, a mixture in which both ingredients are essential, for neither 
freshly powdered rock nor a mass of vegetation is arable soil, although 
plants may flourish for a brief period in either. The organic material 
in soils is ordinarily in the form of decomposed vegetation — humus 

— derived from plant roots, leaves, etc. " During its lifetime a tree 
contributes many times its weight to the organic parts of the soil." 

•EartJiworms contribute soil material and, at the same time, serve 
to mix the rock with vegetable debris, for they have the habit of 
bringing earth to the surface and exchanging it for fragments of 
leaves and grass which they, carry into their burrows. So abundant 
are earthworms in the temperate zones, — thousands in a single acre, 

— that the whole superficial bed of vegetable mold passes through 
their bodies every few years, and it is probable that they have a 

1 Woods, Dept. Agr. Yearbook, 1906, p. 125. The Daily Consular and Trade 
Reports, February 10, 1909, gives one hundred and thirty years as the duration of 
the nitrate supply. 


notable part in maintaining the fertility of the garden lands of Europe 
and America. Generally speaking, ants do for sandy soils of temper- 
ate zones what earthworms do for clay and loam, and in parts of the 
tropics the soil looks as if it had been "literally turned inside out" 
by species of ants which have excavated chambers and galleries, re- 
quiring the removal of many tons of earth daily. Artificially, the 
organic and inorganic constituents of soil are mixed by plowing. 

75. Fertilizers. The above statements regarding plant foods ex- 
plain the reason for supplying fertilizers to the land. Some soils are 
deficient in lime, others in potash, and still others have all the neces- 
sary ingredients except nitrogen. It is the task of the agricultural 
chemist to determine what plant foods are absent from soils and to 
devise means for supplying the deficiency. Gypsum, lime, marl, and 
various phosphate rocks are used as fertilizers, as well as guano from 
the coast of Peru, Chile, Mexico, etc. Bone and ash are imported 
from the stock yards of South America, and farm manure, cotton- 
seed waste, refuse from slaughterhouses, seaweed, fish, and even 
sweepings of streets are used for this purpose. The flood plains of 
the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Nile, Mississippi, and other great rivers 
of the world are fertilized naturally by annual additions of ground-up 
soil and vegetable accumulations. 

76. Water in soil. As a source of plant food, soil is composed not 
only of inorganic fragments mixed with bits of vegetation, but con- 
tains also air and water. Water surrounds each soil grain as a film 
and holds mineral food in solution, so that roots may absorb it directly, 
and the water which plants imbibe is therefore not only a food and 
an agency for increasing the supply of food, but it acts also as a vehicle 
to carry the nutritive substances directly to the plant. Since the yield 
of crops is in direct proportion to the supply of ground water, and 
since few places have sufficient water to produce the maximum crops, 
land values depend largely upon the capacity of the soil to hold water 
or upon the amount actually supplied to it. The finer the soil the 
more water it will hold, and conditions are most favorable when the 
water table (§ 94) is a short distance below the surface, neither high 
enough to exclude soil air, nor low enough to be beyond the reach of 
roots. Under ordinary conditions an abundant rainfall insures a cover- 
ing of vegetation, but unfavorable composition, for example, absence 
of a certain plant food, presence of poisonous substances, or unsuit- 
able texture, may more than offset the advantages of a satisfactory 
water supply. It is, therefore, no uncommon experience to see arid 
spots in humid regions. In arid regions the tillable acreage has been 

SOIL 73 

largely increased by artificial supply of water. Extensive irrigation 
works have long been established in India, Egypt, Spain, and else- 
where, and the United States is now engaged in elaborate enterprises 
of this sort. Under these artificial conditions water may be supplied 
when needed, that is, in the growing season (§ 121), and a relatively 
small amount is therefore sufficient for high-grade agriculture. By 
means of irrigation a region with a favorable climate, like Sicily, may 
have the seasons merged into one, so that fruit can be harvested in 
any month in the year. Even in humid regions much is to be ac- 
complished by irrigation. Lombardy has greatly increased its yield of 
field crops by this method, and many valleys in the Alps and other 
mountainous districts are artificially supplied with water. During 
some experiments conducted at Ayreshire, Scotland, 80 stacks of 
hay were taken from a field which produced 12 before irrigation 
by sewage, and in Wisconsin 14^ tons of corn were taken from 
an acre of irrigated land which formerly produced but 4. 1 Even 
among the sand dunes in Belgium irrigation has produced very 
satisfactory results. 

77. Soil temperature. Plants have adjusted themselves to a fairly 
wide range of temperature, but any given species is rather closely 
limited to a definite climatic zone. The minimum heat required for 
germination varies with the plant species: 3 2° to 4i°F. for wheat and 
oats, 40 F. for barley, 49 F. for corn, and 6o° F. to 65 ° F. for melons. 
Germination is much more rapid, however, at temperatures ranging 
from 77 to ioo°F. ; thus the most favorable temperature for wheat 
is 88°, for corn and pumpkins 92 to 101 F. Corn which germinated 
in three days at a temperature of 65.3°F. took eleven days when the 
temperature dropped to 5 i° F. Growth in most cultivated plants starts 
between 45 and 48°F. and attains its optimum when the soil temper- 
ature reaches 78 to 90 F. Below 45°F. most plants not only refuse 
to grow but are the prey of certain mold and rot bacteria. Some soils 
are too cold for agriculture, but since growth is a chemical process 
and requires heat, soils are rarely too hot. From the figures given 
above it is obvious that during a cold or late spring seeds may rot in 
the ground or germinate so slowly that a crop does not mature. In 
fact, conditions may arise when a variation of io° from the normal 
temperature for April or May may decrease the corn crop of a dis- 
trict by 50 per cent. 

78. Arid and humid soils compared. Some of the earliest civiliza- 
tions developed in regions where soil water was supplied by irrigation. 

1 King, The Soil, pp. 271. 272. 


In Asia the Punjab was the seat of early Indian civilization, not the 
rain-soaked district of Assam. The same is true of Persia, Asia Minor, 
and Turkestan. Egypt, Carthage, and the oases in the Libyan and 
the Sahara deserts, rather than the valleys of the Congo and the Zam- 
bezi, were settled in Africa. Greece, southern Italy, and the Spanish 
centers of Valencia, Granada, and Malaga are seats of early European 
civilization, and in America, Peru and Arizona were occupied by more 
highly civilized tribes than the valley of the Amazon or the flood plain 
of the Mississippi. One reason for this seeming paradox is the fact 
that arid soils excel humid soils. With the exception of water, soils 
of desert regions are richer in plant food, since potash, phosphoric 
acid, and sulphur have been accumulating for ages, unaffected by the 
leaching action of ground water. Arid soils are prevailingly calcareous, 
and they also have a supply of nitrogen, for the humus which they con- 
tain, though small in amount, is rich in food value. Soils containing 
these ingredients, plus water, form an extract which is theoretically 
the best possible for the growth of plants, and thus it happens that 
10 to 20 acres of irrigated land in a desert area may have a produc- 
ing capacity equal to 100 to 160 acres in a humid region. 

79. Adjustment of plants to soil. It must be borne clearly in mind 
that plants have adjusted themselves to soil, not that soils have been 
made to fit plants (cf. §§ 133, 136). The only types of vegetation 
which could have existed before soils are mosses and lichens, possess- 
ing neither roots nor trunks. As soil deepened and its water capacity 
increased, plants learned to look to it as a source of food, sending 
elongations downward to reach the supply. In this way roots seem to 
have been developed, and trunks and branches with them, increasing 
in size with the supply of food. In the struggle for existence certain 
species have developed much more fully than others, so that there is 
a great variety of vegetable forms ranging from microscopic bacteria 
to the giant sequoia towering to a height of 350 feet. The details of 
root adjustment are interesting in this connection. Since for vigor- 
ous growth it is necessary that a large absorbing surface be brought 
into contact with the water-covered grains in the soil, roots are de- 
veloped in enormous numbers and reach far and wide in search of 
food, until practically every cubic inch of forest land or cultivated 
field contains a number of threadlike fibers. Four stalks of corn which 
were found to use 1 50 pounds of water in 1 3 days had roots whose 
combined length was 1.1 miles. 1 Roots of apple trees are known 
to extend 45 feet from the trunk, and even small plants like wheat 

1 King, The Soil, p. 210. 

SOIL 75 

may reach into the ground 7 or 8 feet below the surface. Where 
food is unevenly distributed, as along streams or at the edge of wood- 
lands, roots are developed accordingly, and are therefore arranged in 
a very unsymmetrical fashion. In New England cities, roots of large 
elms in some cases run but a few inches below the surface and may 
even be exposed on the streets, and buried water pipes show roots 
wrapped tightly about them, extending into the joints in search of 
food. In arid regions, plants necessarily develop greater extent of root 
surface. Buffalo-berry roots 50 feet in length have been found in 
Nebraska, and it is not an uncommon sight to see small shrubs or 
even herbs with roots extending 10 to 30 feet from the stalk. 

The character of plant food varies, particularly in residual soils, 
with the character of the rock, and accordingly soil types are accom- 
panied by characteristic groupings of plants. The Pocono ridges of 
Pennsylvania and the " barrens " of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee 
are marked by stunted growths of scrub pine and red and black oak, 
while the Silurian limestone immediately adjoining maintains wal- 
nut, blue ash, etc. Certain types of trees may be used as guides in 
tracing the coal-measure outcrops of Pennsylvania, and in eastern 
Maine the hard woods of the Aroostook limestone are separated from 
the soft woods of the crystalline rocks farther west. In Holland the 
vegetable products of the sandy soil are principally rye, buckwheat, 
and potatoes ; while the chief products of the fluvial and marine clays 
are hops, rape seed, sugar beets, tobacco, and wheat. 1 Potatoes from 
the " red lands" of Dunbar " sell at 80s. to 90s. per ton when potatoes 
grown upon the Lincoln warp soils are sold at 60s. and those from the 
black soils of the fen countries are fetching 45s. to 50s."; this being 
due to the fact that " red-land " potatoes can be cooked a second time 
without changing color. 2 

With the exception of elms, most of the common trees flourish on 
limestone soil, and regions underlain by this rock usually furnish 
abundant plant foods and are agricultural garden spots, as, for in- 
stance, the " greensands " of England and the limestone soil of the 
"blue-grass region" of Kentucky. Indeed, lime, by promoting tilth 
and by its direct use as a plant food, seems to be an ingredient of 
prime importance to soil, and the popular proverb that " a lime coun- 
try is a rich country " is in accord with the scientific facts. Speaking 
generally, it has been well said that ' ' the natural vegetation of any 
tract represents the best adaptation of plants to soils, in the results 
of long periods of the struggle for existence between competing 

1 Kan, in Mills's International Geography, p. 219. 2 Hall, The Soil, p. I. 


species ; the survivors being those best adapted to the entire 
environment." * 

80. Conservation of soil. Soil and climate are the elements which 
determine the variety and abundance of plant life. Modifications of 
climate are not in the control of man, but the conservation of soil is 
in his hands, and it is therefore of vital importance to guard these 
stores of plant food. Under conditions existing in the United States 
it may take 10,000 years to form one foot of soil, and the 4 feet de- 
manded for agriculture may thus require 40,000 years. If an inch 
were wasted each thousand years, the soil-making agencies would 
supply the loss ; more than that means disaster, and in many places 
disaster has come as a result of careless cultivation. The devastated 
lands of Palestine, of China, and the bare slopes of the southern 
Appalachians are marks made by man, — scars which may not be 
healed for thousands of years. A tree which has been growing for 
a hundred years may be cut down by a woodsman in a few minutes, 
and the soils which have been forming for millions of years on moun- 
tain slopes may be destroyed in a season by forest removal (§231). 
It should be borne in mind that the supply of soil is limited. Its 
conservation is not a mere question of relative fertility or yield of 
crops, but involves the preservation of the soil itself, without which 
life on the earth must cease. 

1 Hilgard, Soils, p. 487. 



81. Introductory. Probably no other physical factor has exerted 
such control over man's advancement, civilization, and migration as 
the supply and character of water. The normal human adult con- 
sumes daily between three and four quarts of water, and when we 
consider that this liquid is an important part of his food supply and, 
at the same time, the part which is most likely to contain harmful 
organisms, its relation to human life is readily understood. Further- 
more, the plants on which man depends for food require enormous 
amounts of water to bring them to maturity. It takes 300 tons of 
water to produce a ton of corn, and in order to produce a ton of dry 
oats the oat plants must drink 500 tons of water. On the average 
it requires 325 tons of water to produce one ton of dry matter in the 
common field crops. 

In order to be satisfactory the domestic water supply must be con- 
sidered with reference to its location and the density of population. 
Thus the first European emigrants were satisfied with the streams 
of fresh water which entered the Atlantic from New England and 
the coastal plain. Later, cisterns were built to store rain water, as is 
now common in Charleston, New Orleans, Bermuda, and certain 
tropical regions. As the pioneers made their way westward, their 
movements were, in large measure, influenced by water supply. 
Springs determined the location of camps, and many a log cabin built 
by some practical frontiersman near an abundant spring of water was 
the nucleus about which has grown a permanent village. 1 With the 
change from hunting and lumbering to agriculture a new problem 
was presented, for much of the best tillable land was found to lie 
above the water courses where there were no springs. Furthermore, 
the cultivation of the uplands resulted in polluting the water and de- 
stroying the regularity of flow of the springs lying at a lower level. To 
remedy this defect, springs were at first deepened and holes dug 
where seepage indicated the presence of water near the surface. 
These were the first wells. As the demand for easily accessible water 

1 For an account of the history of potable waters in the United States, see 
McGee, United States Geological Survey, 14II1 Ann. Rept., Part II. 



increased, wells were dug without regard to surface indications, and 
this artificial supply soon replaced the natural supply from streams 
and springs, until the farm or the village home without its well was a 
rarity. However, as the population increased, the soil often became 
charged with poisonous products which found their way into the wells ; 
and the old oaken bucket was no longer a symbol of purity. Wind- 
mills, steam pumps, and iron pipes are much better indicators of an 
uncontaminated water supply than are open curbs and well sweeps. 
The safest method of securing water is to store it in reservoirs, where 
it may be constantly under the surveillance of trained scientists. 

The water supply of the earth is included in rivers, lakes, and 
ground water. In the first instance the world's entire supply is the 
rainfall, which is controlled in its amount and periodicity by the tem- 
perature and the prevailing winds, so that the earth is divided into 
regions of no rainfall, arid regions, humid regions, and regions of 
excessive rainfall. That the source of surface and ground water alike 
is the rainfall is shown by the fact that variation in precipitation is 
reflected at once by variation in the water supply. Springs are per- 
manent or intermittent in response to change in amount of ground 
water, and at times of deficient rainfall, lakes are low, streams decrease 
in volume, and the water in wells sinks or entirely disappears. 


82. Rivers, — general relations. Of all the surface waters, run- 
ning streams constitute the most evident and widespread natural 
supply. They develop on lands wherever there is sufficient rainfall, 
and their size, which varies from that of the giant Congo to the minute 
rivulets which form on hillsides after a shower, is determined by the 
extent of the drainage area, the amount of precipitation and evapora- 
tion, and the character of the soil. The slopes forming the drainage 
basin may be of great length and slight grade, such as those surround- 
ing the Yangtse and the Mississippi ; they may be short and steep, 
hurrying the water to the sea, like those of the rivers of southern 
Chile and southern Alaska ; or they may be marked by abrupt descents 
alternating with more evenly graded portions, like the New-Kanawha, 
which flows from the high 'and steep valleys of the Appalachians into 
the low and flat Ohio valley. In general, most of the large drainage 
areas and, accordingly, the larger rivers enter the Atlantic, while 
the Pacific receives water collected from relatively steep and short 
slopes (§ i). 


Part of the surface water never reaches the ocean, but is carried in- 
land to lower depressions, where, on account of excessive evaporation, 
the rainfall is not sufficient to overflow the barriers. The Caspian and 
its tributaries form a vast interior drainage system ; similar basins oc- 
cur in Mexico and South America; and over 100,000 square miles of 
such drainage is found in the southwestern part of the United States. 
The water from 3 1 per cent of the total land surface of Africa and 
52 per cent of Australia is led out upon desert flats, whence there 
is no escape except by evaporation and absorption. 

The size of rivers is influenced by precipitation to such an extent 
that many a small stream in a region of great rainfall carries more 
water to the sea than streams in large valleys which flow hundreds of 
miles through semi-arid districts ; and the influence of evaporation is 
well shown where strong streams dwindle away as they come out from 
highlands upon desert plains, — a fact which may be observed at the 
foot of mountains in any arid land. The importance of soil absorption 
is well known, and many instances might be cited where streams de- 
crease in volume as they flow through districts of porous soils. For 
instance, the rivers on the Great Plains, such as the Platte, the Ar- 
kansas, and the Red, exhibit dry stream beds at certain times of the 
year, in spite of the fact that the sands beneath are charged with water. 
A stream in New England, underlain by igneous and crystalline rock, 
may carry to the sea 40 to 50 per cent of the rainfall, while even large 
rivers of semi-arid regions may carry less than 5 per cent, the loss 
being due partly to evaporation and partly to absorption by the porous 
soil of their flood plains. 

83. Work done by rivers. A river is a working force of enormous 
energy, and its power is directly related to its velocity. Slow-moving 
streams carry silts and the finest sands, while large streams at flood 
season buoy up and transport with great ease large rock fragments 
and even bridges, piers, and houses. The material carried is deposited 
along the channel as sand bars, terraces, flood plains, and deltas, the 
method of deposition and the character of material varying with the in- 
dividual stream, — a fact which makes necessary a detailed study of each 
stream when problems of control and improvement are to be solved. 
Stream action removes the surface waste from the land and results 
in valley deepening and widening, the final effect of which is to re- 
duce the hills to a uniform level. Although this operation is constantly 
going on, the particular working season of a river is flood time, when 
its volume and speed are greatly increased, and when more land de- 
struction may be accomplished in a day than during the rest of the 


year. It is for this reason that forests have an important relation to 
streams (§ 231). Forest areas, with their tangle of roots and their 
ground cover of humus and mold, tend to prevent floods by retarding 
the movement of water from the lands and allowing it to flow more 
uniformly throughout the year ; while in a region from which forests 
have been removed floods alternate with stages of very low water. 
Deforestation of the Appalachians has not only rendered Pittsburg 
and other cities of the Ohio valley liable to a greater number of dis- 
astrous floods, but has made it possible for the smaller streams to re- 
move the soil from the uplands and to cover the valley farms with 
infertile deposits from their swollen waters. 

84. The river system. Streams pass through regular stages of 
growth from the time they first come into existence and occupy but a 
small portion of the land until a far-reaching system of rivers, brooks, 
and rills has been developed, and every square inch of surface is 
brought under their control. This process of development may be 
illustrated by a theoretical example : Assume a newly formed coastal 
plain, — a part of the continental shelf recently raised from the sea 
(§ 46). No streams have ever existed on this land, and the first rain- 
fall has no established channels to carry it to the ocean. In places 
there will be undrained areas from which the water has no escape. 
Elsewhere rills formed by the rain tend to group themselves and flow 
down the slope, and a stream of considerable length going directly 
toward the ocean may be developed. Such streams whose position 
and direction and slope are determined by the original land surface 
are called conseqiLent, that is, they are controlled by, or are consequent 
upon, the topography, without regard to the character of rock through 
which they pass. As these streams lengthen and intrench themselves 
in the land, they discover new sorts of material in which their courses 
are carved and find that some materials are much more easily eroded 
than others. They accordingly adjust themselves to the easiest path and 
develop valleys whose position and size are controlled by the character 
of the underlying rock and not by the original inclination of the sur- 
face. Such streams are called subsequent. It will readily be perceived 
that of two streams, which in other respects are equal, the one located 
on rock which is easily eroded has a much better chance to develop 
into a large river than the one whose valley must be cut in resistant 
material ; and it naturally follows that if two tributaries are draining 
contiguous areas of land, the one most favorably placed must grow at 
the expense of the other. In time this inequality of position shows it- 
self in the actual absorption of one stream by another, — a well-known 


process usually described under the name of "stream capture." * As a 
result of such capture and other methods of adjustment, a complete 
river system is developed, until each drop of water which falls has a 
path marked out for it through tributaries and master streams to the 

85. Meanders. Rivers on flood plains and old-age streams (§ 58) 
which have reduced their valleys practically to plains are no longer 
confined to more or less straight courses, but curve back and forth upon 
the surface, making a series of bends and loops which greatly increase 
the length of the stream (§ 44). A stream with this habit is said to 
meander. In times of flood such a stream may straighteivand shorten 
its course by cutting a new path across the narrow neck of land which 
separates adjacent meanders, leaving detached lakes or bayous, often 
called ox-bows or horseshoe lakes. In imitation of nature, man may 
artificially shorten a river route by cutting ditches across the bends. 
Thus during* the Civil War, Dutch Gap, in the James, was cut to 
enable the Union transports to reach Richmond by a shorter channel 
and also to avoid dangerous bars ; and one of the plans for improving 
the Mississippi is to straighten the channels by cutting out the curves, 
which have nearly doubled the distance between Cairo and New 
Orleans (§ 44). 

86. Intrenched meanders. When a stream has established the 
habit of meandering, it often maintains its pattern, even after the 
land has been uplifted and the river has begun to cut a deeper chan- 
nel. Moccasin Bend, in the Tennessee River at Chattanooga, is an 
illustration of this. The river comes from the lowland of the Ten- 
nessee valley and enters the highlands of the Cumberland plateau, 
maintaining a meandering course, in spite of the bordering walls of 
rock. Many streams of mountain regions flow in such intrenched 
meanders, and a common method of railroad construction is to tunnel 
through the narrow rock ridges separating two limbs of a curve, thus 
shortening the track and improving its alignment. 

87. Streams of dry climates. One of the most noticeable topo- 
graphic differences between an arid and a humid region is the char- 
acter of the river valleys. Only the stronger streams are perennial, 
and these usually flow in valleys larger than necessary. Some valleys 
contain water in parts of their courses and elsewhere reveal dry beds, 
and many tributaries are active only at times of rain. These dry 

1 Illustration of this process and a general discussion of river development will 
be found in any standard work on physiography. — as Davis, Salisbury. Tarr. or 
Gilbert and Brigham. 


gorges and canyons — known as arroyos and as washes in American 
deserts and as wadys in the Saharan and Asiatic deserts — are char- 
acteristic features of dry climates. After a shower, water rushes down 
these channels with great speed and volume, but within a few hours 
the valley floors are again dry. Often the flood water comes without 
warning, which accounts for the paradox that drowning is a common 
death in desert regions. 

88. Rivers and man (§§ 165-167,184). The economic value of 
rivers is evident. In the early development of a country they are the 
natural avenues of travel. They are used alike by animals, by savage 
tribes, by civilized races of ancient times, and, to a great extent, by 
modern man. Lumber, ore, and other natural products are carried on 
rivers which, even in the age of steam and electricity, remain impor- 
tant highways for the transportation of heavy goods. Every large river 
in the inhabited districts of the world is dotted with crafts of all sorts, 
and the boat on the stream, as well as the train along its banks, testi- 
fies to the control exercised by these natural highways of commerce. 

The development of agriculture in arid regions depends largely 
upon the feasibility of storing river water and leading it out onto 
the valley lands by means of irrigation ditches. 

Streams are reservoirs for municipal water supply, and are one of 
the few sources from which large amounts of water can be obtained 
for congested districts. Omaha, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Pittsburg 
are examples of hundreds of cities which rely upon filtered river water 
for domestic supply. 

As boundaries of political divisions, rivers are commonly used and 
possess evident advantages. The " medial line of the St. Lawrence " 
separates Canada from the United States, and " the middle line of the 
Rio Grande, or its deepest channel where there is more than one," is 
the official designation of the southern boundary of Texas. Where 
islands exist the boundary channel should be designated with care. 
Ignorance of this simple geographical principle is shown in the 
Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1846, the careless wording of which 
was responsible for the " San Juan Question " involving the pos- 
session of a group of islands off the Washington coast. 

89. Lakes, — general relations. Surface water in the form of lakes 
is abundantly but very unevenly distributed over the world. In size 
these water bodies vary from tiny ponds of an acre or less to the giant 
Caspian (168,765 square miles), which is larger than New York, New 
England, and Pennsylvania combined. Lake Superior is larger than 
South Carolina, Lake Victoria would nearly cover Maine, and the ten 


largest lakes (Caspian, Victoria, Superior, Aral, Huron, Michigan, 
Tanganyika, Baikal, Tchad, and Erie) occupy an area larger than the 
German Empire, Austria, and Greece combined. Many lakes are 
but a few feet deep, and even Tchad, about 10,000 square miles in 
area, has a depth of only 20 feet. Lake Superior, on the other hand, 
is 1008 feet deep, Tanganyika 1300 feet, and Baikal attains the enor- 
mous depth of 4500 feet. The water of lakes may be fresh or may 
contain appreciable amounts of salt, increasing in extreme cases to 
18 per cent in Great Salt Lake, 24 per cent in the Dead Sea, and 
29 per cent in Lake Elton, Russia, as compared with, the ocean, 
which contains 3.4 per cent of salts. 

90. Origin of lakes. Lakes are temporary features of the land- 
scape ; they are characteristic of topographic youth, and disappear 
long before the hills have reached maturity or the rivers developed 
their greatest power. Most lakes owe their origin to newly made 
plains or volcanoes or glaciation. Lands recently lifted above the 
sea are characterized by an abundance of lakes before the drainage 
lines have become established. It is partly for this reason that cen- 
tral Florida is dotted with numberless lakes. There are 150 within 
seven miles of Orlando, and it has been estimated that the region 
from Gainesville to Lake Okeechobee contains 30,000 lakes, some 
of them no larger than an ordinary building lot. 

Volcanic agencies, directly or indirectly, have given birth to many 
interesting lakes. The bowls of extinct craters are commonly occupied 
by clear bodies of water of great depth. Lake Laach, in the Eifel 
district, Germany, and the Italian Bracciano and Bolsena are Euro- 
pean examples. Small lakes of this type exist in Nevada, and an ex- 
cellent example is Crater Lake, in the Cascade Mountains of southern 
Oregon. This body of water is 5 to 6 miles in diameter and 6239 feet 
above the sea ; it has no tributaries and no visible outlet. The shores 
are of lava and rise in precipitous cliffs 900 to 2000 feet above the 
water, plunging directly into the depths without leaving a platform at 
the water's edge on which to stand. The full depth of the crater is 
4200 feet, and the water attains a maximum depth of 2000 feet, — 
the deepest lake in North America. 

The great lake regions of the world, however, are not coastal plains 
or volcanic areas ; they are the regions which were overrun by an ice 
sheet in recent geological time. In North America, for instance, lakes 
are most numerous in the northern part, for in this district the ice 
sheet left a very uneven land surface abounding in hollows and pockets 
and in valleys partly filled with debris. 


During the Glacial Age the United States was covered by ice north 
of a line traversing Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
and Indiana, and thence west and northwest (see fig. i 5). Because 
of the complete change in water channels, due to glaciation, the scen- 
ery north of the ice limit differs markedly from that south of the line. 
The southern rivers have regularly developed tributaries and flow in 
valleys corresponding in character to their age. Northern rivers, 
especially the smaller ones, have gorges and waterfalls. The south- 
ern states have few lakes ; the northern states abound in lakes, ponds, 
and marshes. The Century Atlas maps show no lakes in Delaware, 
Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kan- 
sas. Connecticut has 216 lakes large enough to be represented on a 
map of the same scale, and within a radius of 25 miles from Boston 
there are 180 lakes; Minnesota has 476, and Maine, New York, 
Michigan, and Wisconsin likewise number their lakes by hundreds, 
and Canada by thousands. In fact, the connection between lakes and 
the former presence of an ice sheet is so close that the southern 
extension of the ice lobes could be roughly determined by mapping 
the margin of the lake region. 

91. Life history of a lake. The life of a lake may be a day, or a 
season, or centuries, — depending upon its environment; but whatever 
their origin and setting, lakes are relatively short-lived topographic 
features. The forces which tend to destroy lakes are rivers and veg- 
etation, and, in arid regions, the atmosphere. The work of rivers in 
the process of lake destruction is of two kinds, — filling the lake at the 
upper end, and draining it at the lower. The filling is accomplished 
by sediment from mud-laden tributary streams, which carry quantities 
of waste into the water, building deltas or spreading silt unevenly 
over the lake bottom. The basin is occupied more and more by en- 
croaching deltas until it is converted into a plain of soft sediment 
through which streams, formerly tributary to the lake, wind their way. 
In certain localities the disappearance of these water bodies is very 
rapid, as is seen by the comparison of a map of a Swiss district, made 
in 1667, with a modern map, which shows that 73 out of 149 lakes 
have disappeared and farm lands increased accordingly. It is prob- 
ably safe to say that more lakes than now exist have disappeared 
by filling since the beginning of human history. 

The extinction of a lake by drainage requires an enormous amount 
of work on the part of a river, work which is slow because the 
stream has been deprived of its effective tools, — the sand and gravel 
and silt left in the lake by tributary streams. In its efforts to drain 


Lake Erie, Niagara River has cut a gorge 200 to 500 feet deep, 
J of a mile wide, and 7 miles long, and is working its way up- 
stream at a rate of over 4 feet a year. Lake Tahoe, the " gem of 
the Sierras," is in danger of destruction by the cutting of the 
Truckee Canyon. 

Vegetation may be equally fatal to a lake's existence. Rushes, 
lilies, and similar plant life find in water a congenial home, protec- 
tion from other plants and animals, as well as a supply of food ; 
and they accordingly encroach upon the lake, narrowing it to smaller 
and smaller compass. Numerous lakes of Scotland, Maine, New 
York, and other glaciated areas exhibit several stages of lake filling. 
The steps in the process seem to be something as follows : upon 
the retreat of the glacier the hollows of its former bed are filled with 
water, upon the shores of which hardy sedges begin to grow ; then, 
as the seasons grow warmer and the soil deeper, gentians, daisies, 
violets, and many mosses secure a foothold ; then the hardy shrubs 
come, and aspens, and pines, until the lake is surrounded with a girdle 
of green forest ; the soil beds and moss continue to creep out into 
the water, gradually contracting its area, and the lighter mud parti- 
cles and remains of plants and animals drop to the bottom, causing 
the lake to grow shallower and narrower until the last remnant van- 
ishes. The number of water bodies extinguished by the growth of 
vegetation is far greater than is generally supposed. One tenth of 
Ireland is peat bogs, one fifth of the agricultural land of Indiana is 
drained swamps, and Wright estimates that there are 77,000,000 
acres of morasses and bogs in the eastern half of the United States 
which may be reclaimed. 

At the close of the Glacial Period there were probably 4000 lakes within the 
state of Connecticut which owed their existence to ice invasion. Ten hundred 
and twenty-six remain somewhat as originally formed ; 420 are much choked 
with vegetation and are represented on the map as swamps and bogs ; and the 
other 2500 have been drained by the natural development of stream tributa- 
ries, or filled with ddbris from the sides, or completely conquered by aquatic- 
plants. They now exist as plains of small extent and form choice garden spots. 1 

By organic processes small shallow lakes are rapidly extinguished 
and large ones, under favorable conditions, are encroached upon. Clear 
waters are converted into swamps, then into bogs, then into rich gar- 
den lands. Lakes, swamps, bogs, are thus seen not to be distinct spe- 
cies but successive stages in a life history, and bear the same relation 
to each other as do acorns, oak sprouts, oak trees, and oak stumps. 

1 Connecticut Geol. and Nat. Hist. Survey, Bull. No. 6, 1906, p. 250. 


Dismal Swamp, Virginia, shows a lake in three stages, namely, a 
narrowed body of water, — Lake Drummond ; large swamp areas with 
a dense tangle of black gum and cypress ; and areas completely filled, 
which, aided by artificial drainage, now form rich agricultural land. 
In the case of glacial lakes on the prairie, this process is particularly 
rapid, and even since the settlement of Minnesota many lakes have 
been transformed into rice swamps, and farmers now mow hay where 
the pioneers shot ducks. 

In arid regions lakes have a different history, for they are here 
under the control of climate rather than of vegetation or topography. 
If the rainfall is sufficient, such lakes will freshen and may overflow, 
but when evaporation equals or exceeds precipitation, lakes may be 
lowered below the level of their outlet and each succeeding year de- 
crease in amount of water, until concentrated alkaline and salt solu- 
tions remain. Fluctuations in climate are reflected in variations in the 
size of lakes, and so close is the adjustment that when the annual 
supply and the annual loss from evaporation are about evenly balanced, 
lakes of the rainy season may disappear entirely during the summer, 
leaving broad, smooth plains. This is the origin of play as > which 
constitute such a characteristic feature of arid regions. Lakes passing 
beyond the playa state may leave plains of salty mud, — salinas, — 
which are incapable of supporting life. Some salinas in Turkestan 
cover several thousand square miles, and the salina at the outlet of 
Lake Poopo begins as a marshy plain and continues as a white, salt- 
covered surface 4000 square miles in area. Salt lake, playa, salina, 
are thus seen to be stages in the history of lakes of dry climates. 
Great Salt Lake, Utah, 2000 square miles in area, may illustrate the 
features of water bodies in arid districts. This lake is but a remnant 
of ancient Lake Bonneville, 19,750 square miles in area, — about the 
size of Lake Huron. Lake Bonneville was 1050 feet deep and over- 
flowed into the Snake River, thence through the Columbia to the 
Pacific Ocean. With a change of climate its waters fell below the out- 
let and became concentrated to a brine, the salinity of which has in- 
creased until Great Salt Lake contains about 18 per cent of salts. 
The shore lines of the ancient lake, now high on the mountain sides, 
remain to tell its history, and many playas and salinas of Utah mark 
depressions in the Bonneville bed. 

92. Lakes and man. Lakes are in many ways of direct benefit to 
man. They furnish, without construction of expensive dams, an abun- 
dant water supply. The water is clear, fresh, and pure and constitutes 
the best known source of supply for thickly settled communities. 


The larger lakes, furthermore, are used for navigation (§ 307). Lake 
Baikal forms a link in the Trans-Siberian Railway ; Titicaca is a high- 
way across a portion of the plateaus of Bolivia and Peru ; and the 
traffic on the Laurentian lakes, as measured by the Sault canals, just 
about equals the total foreign and domestic trade of New York, and 
is three times the tonnage that passes through the Suez Canal. 1 

Lakes also modify climate, for the same reason that ocean water 
does (§ 3). Furthermore, a river system abounding in lakes is not 
subject to disastrous floods, — --a fact which is appreciated when the be- 
havior of New England streams is compared with that of the lower 
tributaries of the Mississippi. In fact, the most promising means of 
flood prevention is the building of artificial lakes on the headwaters 
of streams whose volume fluctuates markedly with the seasons (§ 44). 
Moreover, no feature of natural scenery is more attractive than lakes, 
and scenery has a commercial importance greater than is ordinarily 
realized. The chief commercial asset of Switzerland and northern 
New England and northern New York is their scenery. Likewise 
climate is responsible for the prosperity of southern California just as 
truly as coal is the commercial basis of West Virginia. 

At their death, lakes yield valuable mineral and agricultural treas- 
ures. The deserted floors of saline lakes are covered with salt, soda, 
and borax. The deposits are extensive and cheaply gathered and of 
great commercial importance. In fact, the salt deposits of the world 
owe their existence to lakes of recent or remote geological times. 
To be sure, these water bodies occupy areas which might otherwise 
be converted into arable land, and, from this point of view, lakes as 
well as swamps are obstacles rather than aids to agriculture ; yet it 
should be borne in mind that extinct lakes of humid regions fur- 
nish the peat which becomes the coal of later ages, and that they yield 
our choicest farm lands. As has been said, many of the garden spots 
of New York, Ohio, Michigan, and other northern states, as well as 
of Europe and the other continents, are a direct inheritance from 
vanished lakes. The land is usually level, the soil fine textured and 
well fertilized ; it is easily tilled and yields large returns. The glacial 
lake which once covered parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, and 
Manitoba, to a depth of over 600 feet at Winnipeg, was larger than 
the combined areas of Illinois and Kentucky (§43). The bed of this 

1 In 1904 there were carried eastward through the Sault Canal 130,000,000 bushels 
of grain, 21,000,000 tons of iron ore, 1,770,000,000 feet of lumber, 1,000,000 tons of 
flour ; and westward, 14,000,000 tons of coal. — Department of Commerce and Labor, 
Commerce and Navigation of the United States, 1904, Vol. I. 


lake is the great wheat region of the prairie plains (§ 218), where the 
soil is rich and unencumbered by bowlders and tree stumps, and the 
land is so level and the valleys so narrow and so widely separated 
that it is possible to plow a furrow or cut a swath for miles in one 

93. Waterfalls. It is evident that one of the most important com- 
mercial features of drainage is waterfalls and rapids, by means of which 
the power of rivers is made directly available for man. Waterfalls 
occur in streams where the evenly graded channel is interrupted by a 
sharp change in slope, and, accordingly, falls are of all sizes and heights, 
from swift-moving water in regular streams — rapids — to the 1500- 
foot column of a Yosemite. Most rivers, especially those in a youth- 
ful stage, have small waterfalls, because the beds of most streams are 
formed partly of hard and partly of soft materials, allowing erosion 
to produce an uneven surface. Thus the falls which make Columbia, 
South Carolina, a manufacturing city occur at the junction of crys- 
talline rocks with the unconsolidated sediments of the coastal plain 


Most of the waterfalls of the world, however, owe their existence 
to glaciation. As a result of the ice advance, rivers were forced from 
their channels, dams were built across them at various points, and the 
whole surface of the country was remodeled. When the ice retreated, 
some rivers reoccupied their channels ; others, being unable to find 
their old courses, made new ones in order to avoid obstructions and 
find their way to the sea. The water from rainfall and the floods 
from melted ice supplied the rivers, which flowed over the uneven 
surface and fell here and there over cliffs and ridges and the banks of 
preglacial streams. The Connecticut River, for instance, was obstructed, 
and the water at Turners Falls and elsewhere was thus forced to re- 
gain its ancient route by a roundabout way. Lowell and Lawrence 
owe their existence to the obstruction of the Merrimac. Holyoke de- 
rives its admirable water power from a waterfall in the Connecticut. 
Rochester, New York, Spokane, and hundreds of other cities and 
villages throughout the northern part of the United States have been 
so located as to take advantage of waterfalls. The Falls of St. Anthony 
are largely responsible for the supremacy of Minneapolis (§ 272), and 
the powerful Niagara, representing 4,000,000 horse power, is an illus- 
tration on a large scale of the industrial importance of falls which owe 
their existence to glaciation. The undeveloped water power of the 
world is a commercial asset of great value, fully justifying the atten- 
tion paid to it by various manufacturing interests. 



94. General relations. Water which falls upon the earth as rain 
is disposed of in three ways, — a part of it is evaporated, a part re- 
mains as surface water in lakes and rivers, and a third part enters 
the ground to remain for a longer or shorter period of time. The 
amount of water in the ground depends, therefore, directly upon the 
amount of rainfall, and less directly upon the character of the topog- 
raphy and the texture of the soil. The more gently rain falls, the 
more of it enters the ground, and sometimes all of it is absorbed. If 
the surface of the country is flat, the ground will absorb -more rain 
than if it is hilly, and if the soil is loose and open, it will take up 
more water than if it is compact. Taking the world as a whole, 22 
per cent of the precipitation enters the rivers, and the remaining 78 
per cent is divided between that which is evaporated and that which 
enters the ground. Certain rivers in New South Wales take only 2\ 
per cent of the precipitation, while some of the New England streams 
carryover 50 per cent. Ground water does not occupy reservoirs, but 
occurs in minute quantities between the grains of rock and in joints, 
crevices, and planes of stratification. Chalk may hold two gallons of 
water for every cubic foot ; sandstones may hold 20 to 30 per cent of 
their weight ; and even dense granite contains an appreciable amount. 
The aggregate supply is therefore very large. In the sandstone under- 
lying parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin there is water enough to 
make a lake covering these states to a depth of 50 to 100 feet. In 
the joints of the crystalline rocks of Connecticut there is 1 cubic 
inch of water for 125 cubic feet of rock. If all the ground water were 
squeezed from the rocks, there would be enough to cover the entire 
earth with an ocean of fresh water over 100 feet in depth. This great 
amount of water is near the surface, its amount and accessibility vary- 
ing with all the factors which determine climate. 

The level below which soil, subsoil, and rock are always saturated 
is the water table — not a horizontal surface, but a plane which adjusts 
itself to the topography. It is at less depth in valleys than on hill- 
sides, and it bends upwards and downwards with hills and valleys, 
and advances toward or recedes from the surface in harmony with 
variations in precipitation. Streams whose beds reach below the 
water table are perennial, and wells must be sunk below it to yield 
water. In humid regions the water table is from 10 to 40 feet be- 
low the surface, but in arid regions it may be only after years of 
irrigation that the table comes within reach of field crops. 


Water contained in the ground does not remain stationary, but has 
a drift or underground flow, usually in a definite direction. This flow 
is rarely in the form of distinct streams ; and only in limestone re- 
gions where underground drainage has been established do such phe- 
nomena occur, as in parts of Kentucky, where the underground flow 
is so large that surface channels are dry over many square miles. 
Generally the water finds its way between the grains composing the 
rock or along partly closed joints, and its movement is excessively slow. 
With a slope of 10 feet to a mile, ground water will move in fine sand 
about 5 2 feet per year, in gravel a mile a year. Petrifaction, mineral 
springs, and land slides are also phases of ground-water work, and the 
ore deposits of the world owe their existence chiefly to the same cause. 

95. Recovery of ground water. Underground water is returned to 
the surface naturally by springs and artificially by wells of various sorts. 
Springs may be outlets for subterranean streams, as Silver Springs, 
Florida, and Cascade Springs, South Dakota ; or they may be located 
along some crack in the earth's crust and thus be outlets for deeply 
buried waters, like the hot springs of Virginia, Arkansas, and Nevada; 
or, finally, they may occur at the contact between strata of open-textured 
and water-tight rocks. In springs of this type, including probably 90 
per cent of their total number, the surface water penetrates the upper 
beds down to some impervious layer, then follows this layer out to the 

Wells are holes which reach into the ground below the water table 
and, accordingly, vary in depth with the character of the soil, the rain- 
fall, and other factors. Most wells are shallow, for the water table in 
humid regions is near the surface, and porous spaces and open joints 
decrease in number with the depth. 

Ordinary wells receive their water supply from the ground immedi- 
ately adjoining, but in artesian wells the conditions are different. For 
these it is necessary to have a water-bearing layer, preferably sand or 
sandstone, over which lie strata practically impervious, such as shale 
or dense rocks of other types. Water must have access to the pervious 
layer, but not necessarily near the location of the well. If the water- 
bearing stratum is exposed at a point higher than the well, the water 
will be under pressure and will rise through the upper confining layer. 
Thus in South Dakota a saturated sandstone bed exposed in the Black 
Hills is covered by clays and shales as it extends eastward. When 
the clay is pierced at elevations lower than the Hills, the water rises 
freely and supplies wells even at a distance of 350 miles from its 
source. The coastal plain of Texas is another excellent artesian area, 


as is also the New Jersey plain. In the latter case a water-bearing 
bed is so completely inclosed that wells sunk on barrier beaches, as 
at Atlantic City, pass through salt water and reach fresh water which 
has traveled through rock from the western border of the state. Ar- 
tesian wells do not manufacture water, and since the supply in the 
ground may be exhausted, care should be taken to husband the sup- 
ply, particularly in arid regions. 

96. Ground water and health. Ground waters carry pollution in 
the same manner as surface streams, and there is no basis, in fact, for 
the notion that " running water purifies itself within a mile," or that 
" water from deep sources is pure." The typhoid epidemic at Lau- 
sanne, Switzerland, in 1 872, was caused by germs which passed through 
more than a mile of glacial debris, and at Montclair, New Jersey, dis- 
ease germs carried by ground water were pumped from a well 400 feet 
in depth. Location with reference to surface conditions and direction 
of underground flow are more important than depth. Owing to sew- 
age contamination, a commission appointed by the New Haven Cham- 
ber of Commerce recommended that "all wells in the city be abandoned 
for domestic supply." Typhoid epidemics are usually caused by pol- 
luted waters, and it is recognized that "the prevalence of typhoid in 
cities is a true index of the quality of the water supply." 

97. Location of settlements. The ground- water supply has had 
much to do with the growth of cities and the location of farms and 
ranches, as well as of oases. Some districts to the east of Paris, in 
the Marne valley, for example, those near Verdelot, show villages and 
farmhouses widely scattered because the ground water is kept near 
the surface by the presence of an impermeable layer. Farther south, 
in the Seine valley, at Origny-le-Sec, the water sinks through per- 
meable rock, requiring deep wells, and the villages are accordingly 
grouped where such wells have been dug. The rocks underlying the 
suburban districts north of London do not retain the rainfall, and the 
growth of the city in that direction was retarded until water was con- 
veyed artificially. On the western plains and in the deserts of New 
Mexico, Arizona, and southern California many villages and farms 
owe their existence to the presence of a spring or well, and one of the 
striking features of an arid region is the presence of artificial oases, 
— spots of green surrounding an artesian well in the midst of a 
monotonous stretch of desert land. 




98. General and physical. The atmosphere is the entire gaseous 
envelope which surrounds the earth. It retains and modifies the heat 
of the sun, distributes moisture, and makes it possible for the forms 
of life with which we are acquainted to exist on the planet. Without 
an atmosphere the earth would resemble the moon, — a cold, barren 
lifeless sphere. 

The air extends to a height of several hundred miles, but one half 
of it is within 3 J miles of the earth, and 99 per cent within 25 
miles. The inhabitants of Tibet, on a plateau 1 5,000 feet in elevation, 
have scarcely more than half the amount of air used by dwellers at 
the seashore ; and climbers in high mountains above 20,000 feet find 
it almost impossible to live on the small amount of air present. 1 Al- 
though invisible, air has a certain definite weight, varying with the 
altitude. At sea level the weight of the atmosphere (i.e. its pressure) 
is 14.7 pounds for every square inch of surface, and, accordingly, the 
pressure on a man's body amounts to several tons. The density of 
air is proportional to the pressure to which it is subjected ; it is also 
elastic and readjusts itself with great readiness. These properties 
make air valuable as motive power for machinery, and account, among 
other things, for its extensive use in air brakes. 

The temperature of the air is controlled by the sun, and air of dif- 
ferent degrees of warmth is distributed over the earth in accordance 
with the effectiveness of the sun's rays. The atmosphere is, however, 
only slightly warmed by the direct heat of the sun, a much greater 
effect being produced by the rays which are absorbed and radiated by 
the earth. The air thus receives the sun's heat both as it comes to the 
earth and as it leaves the earth, and temporarily retains about 70 per 
cent of the whole amount derived from the sun. The upper air is 
everywhere cold, and in the space beyond the atmosphere the tem- 
perature remains constantly below zero. 

1 St. Elias, 18,024 feet, and Illimani, 22,500 feet, have been ascended, and in 1908 
the Duke of the Abruzzi climbed 24,600 feet in the Himalayas. 



The atmosphere consists almost entirely of five gases, in the following 
proportions: nitrogen, 76.95; oxygen, 20.61 ; water vapor (average), 
1 .40; argon, 1 ; and carbon dioxide (average), 0.03. Of these nitrogen 
is the element which is responsible for most of the pressure and density 
of the air ; yet, although it is present in such large quantities, living 
forms have learned to make little use of it. It does, however, make 
possible the flight of birds, and in a roundabout way furnishes food to 
plants (§ 73). The oxygen of the air supports life in plants and ani- 
mals, and is, perhaps, the most effective agent in the formation of soil. 
Animals of all classes have learned to use diluted oxygen rather 
than the more abundant nitrogen, and so dependent are they upon it, 
that without an adequate supply death ensues. Carbon dioxide, al- 
though present in small amounts, plays a most important part in 
nature (§71). 

A dry atmosphere consists almost entirely of the two gases, nitrogen 
and oxygen, but water vapor is nearly always present in amounts which 
depend upon temperature. For instance, at a temperature of 20 F. 
a cubic foot of air will hold 1.235 grains of water vapor, at 40 F. 
it will hold 2.849 grains, and at ioo° F. it will hold 19.766 grains. 
Humidity is the general term used to express the percentage of water 
vapor in air ; the amount actually present is the absolute humidity, 
and the proportion that this amount bears to the quantity air can hold 
at a given temperature is the relative humidity. Relative humidity is 
the important factor, so far as man is concerned, for it determines 
whether the air is dry or damp, " close," or " muggy." A dry climate 
is one in which the atmosphere is far from saturation, i.e. could hold 
much more water vapor ; but in a damp climate there is always an 
approach to saturation, although the actual amount of water vapor 
present may be small. Damp air in the arctics, for instance, may con- 
tain but one tenth of the water vapor held by damp air in the tropics. 
The water vapor of the atmosphere may be condensed by cooling 
and take the forms recognized as fog, clouds, rain, snow, hail, dew, 
or frost. Condensation near the surface produces /<?£-, at higher alti- 
tudes clouds, and both of these forms may disappear when the air 
grows warmer, thus gaining an increased capacity for holding moist- 
ure. When the condensation of water vapor produces particles too 
large to be supported in the air, these fall as rain or snow, the form 
depending upon whether the condensation takes place above or below 
the freezing point. Sleet is partly frozen snow, and hail is made up 
of raindrops which have been carried so far upward that they are 
frozen before they fall to the earth. Dew and frost form on the 


surface and do not fall from the sky. They are the result of deposi- 
tion on cool surfaces, such as stone, which cause the water vapor to 
condense ; and they have the same relations to each other as do 
rain and snow. 

99. Movements of the atmosphere. The movements of the atmos- 
phere are grouped under the general term wind, and owe their exist- 
ence primarily to changes of temperature in the air. The immediate 
cause is, however, the uneven distribution of air pressure. If the 
temperature were uniform, the atmosphere would be stationary, and 
the air pressure at any point would be determined by the altitude of 
the place. Under such conditions no winds would exist. There are, 
however, continual changes of temperature which affect the pressure 
of the air and produce movements varying from slight unnoticed 
flows to winds with a velocity of 200 miles per hour. That winds are 
related to temperature is readily observed. Air moves toward a fire- 
place, winds set in toward a burning building or city, and, on a large 
scale, the air moves from place to place on the earth's surface, follow- 
ing inequalities in temperature due to latitude or to topography. 

The direction and force of winds are determined by differences in 
atmospheric pressure. More or less permanent low barometric areas 
are located in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, and cor- 
respondingly high ones are found off the west coasts of South Amer- 
ica and Africa ; but areas of temporary high and low pressure form 
and disappear with great frequency in all parts of the world. The 
cause of the formation and dispersal of high and low areas is not 
fully understood, but the relation of these areas to winds is evident ; 
for winds blow from regions of high pressure to regions of low pres- 
sure, and the velocity with which they blow is determined by the 
difference in pressure of the two areas and their distance apart. The 
controlling force is gravity : air is stationary when the pressure is 
everywhere the same, flows slowly (i.e. blows gently) where the pres- 
sure differences are slight, and travels (blows) with the force of a 
hurricane where there is a steep barometric gradient. 

100. Effect of the rotation of the earth. As already explained, the 
direction and velocity of winds are controlled primarily by differences 
in temperature and atmospheric pressure, but they are modified by 
the rotation of the earth. The earth at the equator turns eastward at 
the rate of 1 000 miles an hour ; in the latitude of 4 5 ° — St. Paul and 
Portland — this speed is reduced to 750 miles an hour, and at the poles 
it is zero. The result of this motion is that moving bodies on the 
earth's surface — as winds, rivers, and ocean currents — tend to 


swing to the right or left. This law has been stated by its discoverer 
(Ferrel) as follows : "If a body moves in any direction on the earth's 
surface, there is a deflecting force arising from the earth's rotation 
which deflects it to the right in the northern hemisphere, but to the 
left in the southern hemisphere." Permanent north and south winds, 
therefore, are practically unknown, and are replaced in the northern 
hemisphere by northeast and southwest winds and in the southern 
hemisphere by southeast and northwest winds. 

101. Wind belts. The combined effect of temperature, pressure, 
and earth rotation is to produce air currents which are characteristic 
of different sections of the world, and winds are arranged roughly in 
groups whose boundaries correspond approximately to latitude ; the 
borders, however, are indistinct and change their position with the 

102. Planetary winds. Certain of these groups or wind belts owe 
their position to the fact that the earth possesses an atmosphere and 
rotates towards the east. They are but slightly affected by topography, 
the presence of the ocean, and minor variations in temperature. Be- 
cause these winds are part of the earth's equipment as a planet and 
would exist under similar conditions on Jupiter or Mars, they have 
been called planetary winds. They include the trades and the prevail- 
ing westerlies. Trade winds, so called because they follow a " trade " 
(or straight) course, blow from about latitude 2 8° north and south of 
the equator at a velocity of 10 to 30 miles an hour. In the northern 
hemisphere they are northeast winds ; in the southern, southeast. 
The westerlies are southwest winds in the northern hemisphere and 
northwest winds in the southern hemisphere. They are best developed 
between latitude 40 and 50 S., where they blow regularly throughout 
the year with greater force than the trades, and are known to sailors 
as the Roaring Forties. In the northern hemisphere they are much 
less constant and take part in the irregular whirls which make the 
north temperate continental areas so stormy (§ 128). Between the 
trades and the prevailing westerlies there is a belt of calms known as 
the horse latitudes, which is characterized by clear, fair weather. 
Along the equator, between the trades, is another belt of calms, the 
doldrums, where the weather is prevailingly cloudy and rainy. In gen- 
eral, calm belts are regions where the air is ascending or descending, 
rather than moving between equator and poles. 

103. Shifting of the wind belts. These belts of wind and calm do 
not retain the same position with reference to latitude throughout 
the year, although they retain the same relations to each other. The 


location of the doldrums does not coincide exactly with the equator, but 
with that portion of the equatorial belt where the heat is the most in- 
tense. This heat equator corresponds roughly to the terrestrial equa- 
tor, but moves backward and forward across it as the seasons change. 
Moreover, it will be observed that the heat equator is not a straight line, 
but is much modified by topography and by the position of the ocean. 
Thus it comes about that during the course of a year a given locality 
may be visited by different belts of wind. For instance, the horse lat- 
itudes of the northern hemisphere move toward the equator in winter 
and away from it in summer, and any place which normally rests 
under this belt will have storms from the westerlies in winter and the 
arid climate of the trades in summer. 

One result of this movement of the heat equator and the correspond- 
ing shifting of wind belts is the development of monsoons, which de- 
termines the seasons for southern Asia. In the northern summer, when 
the entire wind belt is shifted toward the north pole, the southern trades 
are carried north of the terrestrial equator and converted into south- 
west winds. On the other hand, when the wind belts shift southward 
the northeast trades are extended across the equator as northwest 
winds. In the open sea these modifications have little effect, but 
where the equator crosses the ocean near land masses a second factor 
is introduced, for the great difference in the temperature of land and 
sea alternately strengthens and weakens the normal atmospheric cir- 
culation. That is, the winds become powerful land and sea breezes 
(§ 104). The combination of these two factors, namely, the extension 
of the trades and the influence of land, account for the winds of India 
which blow with great force alternately seaward and landward, causing 
seasons of drought and seasons of excessive rainfall. 

104. Land and sea breezes. The difference in temperature between 
land and water produces local winds along sea and lake shores. In 
the daytime the air on the land is lighter and warmer than that on 
the sea, and at night it is colder and heavier ; winds, therefore, blow 
inland in the morning and offshore in the evening. Among island 
tribes these winds are known and followed, and the Peruvian fisher- 
man of to-day uses land breezes to carry him out to the fishing grounds, 
returning with the aid of the sea breezes. Coast dwellers, particularly 
in the tropics, look to the sea breeze as a health-giving tonic. 

105. Storms. The greater movements of the atmosphere described 
above are fundamental factors and control the settlement and agricul- 
tural possibilities of a region, but minor and more rapid movements 
known as storms exercise a more direct and visible control over the 


details of commerce, of farming, and of business life. Storms, there- 
fore, become an important consideration, especially in the temperate 
zones, where the industrially active populations of the world are con- 
centrated. These regions are traversed by the prevailing westerly 
winds, southwest in the north temperate and northwest in the south 
temperate zone, winds whose course is not uniformly straight but is 
interrupted by temporary and local disturbances, due to the formation 
of whirls and eddies which are known to meteorologists as cyclones 
and anticyclones. A cyclone 1 is an area of low pressure 500 to 1000 
miles in diameter, toward which wind blows spirally from all direc- 
tions. For instance, in passing across the United States (§ 61) the 
winds in front of an eastward-moving cyclone blow from the south- 
east and south and, in less degree, from the east ; while the prevailing 
winds in the rear of a cyclone are northwest and north and occasion- 
ally west. Southerly winds contributing to the cyclonic area blow 
from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic, and as they go into colder 
latitudes their water vapor is condensed and falls as rain or snow. The 
north and northwest winds, coming from the cooler and drier con- 
tinental interior toward warmer lands, retain their moisture. Accord- 
ingly, the approach of a cyclone is heralded by stormy and rainy 
weather, relatively high temperature, and shifting winds, which give 
way to clear skies after the cyclone has passed. Anticyclones, on the 
other hand, are high-pressure areas, from which wind is blowing spi- 
rally in all directions. On the east side of such an area in the north 
temperate zone the winds are from the north and northwest, bringing 
clear skies and lower temperature. On the west of an anticyclone the 
winds are from the east and south, and the temperature accordingly 
rises. These cyclonic and anticyclonic areas are so large that although 
they move at great speed (§ 106), the different phases of weather 
which they represent continue from one to three days. 

106. Movement of cyclonic storms. Cyclonic and anticyclonic 
whirls travel with the prevailing westerlies, as eddies travel in a stream, 
at the average rate of about 30 miles an hour; and weather changes 
for a given place are to be expected, therefore, at frequent intervals, 2 
sometimes with sudden and great variation in temperature and hu- 
midity. Furthermore, these areas of high and low pressure may be 
large or small, well developed or imperfectly formed ; they may be 

1 In parts of the United States this term is improperly used as a synonym for 

2 The area from Lake Superior to the Gulf of St. Lawrence is visited annually by 
an average of 48 storms, and in general the stormiest parts of the world lie between 
40 and 50 N. Lat. 


areas of very high or very low barometer ; they may move slowly or 
with great speed ; and their control of the weather is accordingly 
variable. "Cold wave," "warm wave," "high winds," "blizzards," 
" rainstorms," " clear, bracing air," are common expressions indicat- 
ing the location and character of cyclonic areas. The paths which 
these storms take across the United States are shown on weather 
maps, where it is seen that although they vary in position, their gen- 
eral trend is northeast, — the direction of the prevailing westerlies, 1 
— and upon this fact are based weather predictions, so valuable in all 
commercial pursuits. 

107. Hurricanes and typhoons. Cyclonic storms originating in the 
belt of calms (doldrums), and associated with the heat equator during 
its northerly migration, are called hurricanes in the West Atlantic, 
and typhoons in the West Pacific and Indian oceans. They are 
smaller than cyclones of middle latitudes, but much more severe, at- 
taining a speed of from 60 to 70 miles an hour. They may continue 
for weeks and are the most destructive storms known. Few ships are 
able to outride them, and the coast lines and islands of the East and 
West Indies have been repeatedly devastated by their force, — some 
of the smaller ones being swept entirely clean of trees and buildings. 2 

108. Local storms. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are sudden and 
violent disturbances of local effect and short duration. They follow 
the westerlies of temperate zones and the trades in the tropics, and 
usually occur on the outer margins of cyclones. High temperature 
and great humidity are necessary conditions, and after periods of in- 
tense heat, usually on summer afternoons, excessively rapid conden- 
sation of water vapor, accompanied by electric discharges, may occur, 
producing thunderstorms. 3 In a clear sky dark cumulus clouds 
suddenly appear, the wind freshens, and rain falls ; the clouds then 
move eastward, and the sun shines again — all within an hour or so. 

Under similar conditions, tornadoes may occur, in which case, clouds 
are seen to rush together and to reach down from the sky in the form 

1 An examination of weather maps for a few days in succession will demonstrate the 
path and speed of the low and high areas in the United States, as well as their rela- 
tion to temperature, barometric pressure, and wind direction. Winter cyclones pass 
frequently over the Adriatic and Black seas, producing severe storms and high winds 
at Trieste and Odessa. Anticyclones over the Alps give the clear, windless weather 
of Switzerland. Corresponding conditions exist in the southern hemisphere. 

2 For a vivid picture of these storms, read Joseph Conrad's The Typhoon. 

3 These storms are most frequent in the tropics. Bismarckburg, Togoland, has an 
annual average of 200; Java, 167 ; Leon, 141 ; Mexico, 138; New Guinea, 97 ; Vivi, 
on the Congo, 95. The annual average for the United States varies from 2 on the 
Pacific coast and 12 in New England to 50 in Mississippi and 55 in central Florida. 


of a long, swinging, funnel-shaped mass, nearly or actually touching 
the earth. This pendent cloud mass, whirling at the rate of 100 to 200 
miles an hour, passes across the country with the speed of an express 
train, sweeping a path of from a few feet to a half mile wide, within 
which narrow limits its force and destructive power are beyond com- 
prehension ; trees are uprooted, buildings demolished, feathers plucked 
from birds, and, in some of its wilder manifestations, water is sucked 
from ponds, straws are driven into boards, men are hurled through 
the air, and bridges and even locomotives are handled with ease. On 
the North American continent these severe storms are most: likely to 
develop in the area of which Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa form the 
center. Ten per cent of the tornadoes recorded between 1 794 and 1 88 1 
occurred in Kansas ; and in the above-mentioned states, with the ad- 
dition of Illinois and Georgia, occur practically all of the 150 torna- 
does recorded annually in the United States. 


109. Introductory. The importance of climate as a geographic 
control is evident. Plants and animals and even men may be roughly 
subdivided into classes in accordance with the climate of the place 
they occupy. The trees of the tropics are unlike those of the arctics 
or even of the temperate zones. The topography of such regions is 
different, the soil and water supply are different, buildings and other 
works of man are different, and man himself shows differing char- 
acteristics, some of which are ascribed to his climatic environment 
(§§ 147-148, 172, 174-175, 197-198). Climate is a barrier to the 
migration of plants and animals, including man ; it controls man's 
life as a savage and, even in an advanced stage of civilization, works 
important economic results. A single hot wind in Kansas may destroy 
the crops of the year ; a flood in the Mississippi does damage esti- 
mated in millions ; the date of the first frost may determine the fruit 
crop for a nation ; and a deficiency of rainfall for a few weeks may 
produce famine affecting millions. Man has learned partially to adjust 
himself to climate ; but he cannot change it, and no other factor within 
the range of human experience has so much influence, even in minor 
details, in determining the activities of the human species. 

Factors of Climate 

110. The factors which exert the chief influence in determining 
the character of climate are latitude, altitude above sea, the vicinity of 
the sea, winds, ocean currents, and topography. The influence of these 


factors is chiefly felt in their control of temperature and rainfall, — two 
elements of prime importance to man. The relative predominance of 
the various factors and the proportions in which they are blended de- 
termine for any place its particular climate. Portions of the earth's 
surface where climatic conditions are sufficiently uniform constitute 
climatic zones or provinces, each with its characteristic type of weather 
and climate, but it will be readily understood that such climatic zones 
are very complex and, accordingly, difficult of precise limitation. Local 
variations of climate, due to varying relations between the above-men- 
tioned factors, are to be expected in every part of the globe, and a 
description which will apply in detail to all parts of a region cannot 
be given. 

111. Latitude. Turning to the individual factors which combine 
to produce climate, we find that the chief primary element is the dis- 
tribution of the sun's heat, since this determines the length of day and 
night * and the duration of the seasons ; the amount of heat received 
from the sun at any given spot depends primarily upon the latitude. 
If the earth had a uniform surface of water, latitude would be of even 
more importance as a determining factor, for there would be definite 
zones of uniform climatic conditions surrounding the world, — zones 
bounded by parallels of latitude. The warmest climate would be at 
the equator and the coldest at the poles as now, because the amount 
of heat received from the sun depends upon the directness with 
which its rays strike the earth. Within the tropics the noonday sun 
is always high in the sky and may be directly overhead ; at the poles 
it appears near the horizon or remains out of sight ; and latitudes 
between the equator and poles receive amounts of heat corresponding 
with their position. 

Always an element of great importance, latitude was to the ancients 
the one great cause of climates. Ptolemy divided the earth into 30 
klimata, — slopes or inclinations. These were zones drawn parallel to 
the equator and numbered according to the length of a midsummer 
day, and the corresponding amount of heat. In accordance with this 
view the earth was marked with the so-called climatic circles, namely, 
the arctic circle, 23I from the north pole ; the tropics of Cancer and 
Capricorn, 23^° north and south, respectively, of the equator ; the equa- 
tor ; and the antarctic circle, 23 \° from the south pole. These climatic 

1 In the latitude of England the length of day varies from about 17 hours in July 
to about 8 hours in January. At New York the extreme difference in length between 
a summer and a winter day is about 6 hours. The agitation for the " Hours of Day- 
light " bill is an attempt to regulate clocks in conformity with the varying lengths of day. 



circles were supposed to separate the earth into the torrid zone, two 
tejnperate zones, and two frigid zones. These terms are still conven- 
ient for use, but it should be borne in mind that the factors produc- 
ing climate are so complex that these circles are of little value as 
boundaries, and that, in general, the attempt to limit zones of climate 
by parallels of latitude produces unsatisfactory results. The insuffi- 
ciency of the climatic circles to bound climatic provinces is well shown 
by the northern and southern so-called "temperate" zones. They are 
between the same parallels of latitude, receive almost the same amount 
of heat from the sun, and, if latitude were the only factor concerned, 
they should be zones 
of like climates. The 
other climatic fac- 
tors, however, are so 
important that the 
north and south 
temperate zones are 
extremely unlike in 
climate. The south 
temperate zone has 
uniform conditions ; 
the north temperate 
zone shows extremes 
in daily and seasonal 
ranges of temperature, 
rainfall, and sunshine, 
which are hardly less 
marked than con- 
trasts between the 
tropics and the poles. 

112. Altitude. Elevation above the sea exerts a strong influence 
on climate in intensifying or overcoming the influence of latitude. The 
lowest air strata are the warmest, and the highest the least warm, so 
that mountain tops are perpetually surrounded by cool air. The rate 
at which the temperature diminishes with height is about I ° for every 
300 feet ; thus, as one ascends mountains he passes through successive 
zones of climate. If a mountain of sufficient height is located on the 
equator, all climates from tropical to polar may be encountered by 
making its ascent. Thus Ruwenzori (16,815 feet), on the eastern 
highlands of Africa, is snow capped the year round, while near its 
base it is surrounded by tropical vegetation of extreme luxuriance. 

Fig. 17. Influence of Altitude on Temperature 


The peaks which tower above the California desert are flanked with 
forests and rarely lose completely their mantle of snow. This change 
from burning heat to constant cold encountered in an ascent of 
10,000 to 14,000 feet above a tropic plain would, at sea level, require 
a journey of a quarter of the circumference of the earth (6000 miles). 
Elevation above the sea is such an important factor that two places 
similarly located in reference to latitude, with the same distance from 
the sea, the same winds, and the same topographic surroundings, may 
present climates widely different as a result of elevation alone. Eleva- 
tion plus latitude determine the cold deserts which are permanently 
uninhabitable. The lower boundary of these deserts is the snow line, 
which is at sea level in the polar regions and becomes higher and 
higher towards the equator; for example, in Spitsbergen it is 1000 
feet ; in the Alps, about 9000 feet ; in the Rocky Mountains, approx- 
imately 1 2,500 feet ; and in the Andes, under the equator, over 16,000. 
The effect of even a small change in elevation is well shown in the 
distribution of isothermal lines in New England (fig. 17), where dif- 
ferences of a few hundred feet produce marked changes. It is just 
such small variations that determine the success or failure of crops. 

The fauna and flora of high altitudes, called Alpine, include few spe- 
cies, and those which are found are specifically adjusted to their environ- 
ment (§§ 133-136). The importance to man of elevation, particularly 
as a factor in producing healthfulness of climate, is so well recognized 
that mountain climates are treated as a distinct group (§ 131). 

113. Vicinity of the sea. The effect of large bodies of water on 
climate is very marked and is due primarily to the different manner 
in which land and water receive the sun's heat. The heat of the sun's 
rays penetrates the soil with extreme slowness because the particles of 
soil are opaque and have no movement among themselves. The daily 
downward heating extends, therefore, but a few feet. In bare sand 
the sun's heat is concentrated near the surface, the upper layer of only 
a few inches often being raised to an intense heat, while the sand 
immediately below is cool, as may be observed on seashores and in 
desert regions. In forested and grass-covered areas the amount of 
heat concentrated in the soil is never so extreme. On the water, how- 
ever, the sun's rays are not stopped at the surface but are commu- 
nicated downward to a considerable depth. The transparency of 
water, its specific heat, and the fact that evaporation is tending to 
dissipate heat prevent a rapid change in the surface layers of water. 
It requires, therefore, more heat to raise a given amount of water one 
degree than is the case with most substances. Thus, the heat required 


to raise the temperature of a pound of water one degree would pro- 
duce the same change in nine pounds of iron. 

The result of this difference in behavior of soil and water is that 
water cannot be raised to such high temperatures as the land in its 
vicinity ; and since the temperature of the air is largely controlled by 
the temperature of the body on which it rests, air over the sea can 
never be either so cold or so warm as air over land, and regions bor- 
dering the sea are therefore much modified by the presence of the 
water, its tendency being to produce uniform climate throughout the 
year. The interiors of continents, naturally, are not influenced by these 
conditions. There consequently arise two types of climate, namely, 
maritime, characteristic of islands and continental shores, except 
in places where unfavorable winds figure as the controlling factor ; 
and continental, characteristic of large interior land areas. Maritime 
climate tends to uniformity of temperature, with slight differences be- 
tween day and night and between the seasons. Continental climates 
are marked by sudden and excessive changes, both daily and seasonal. 
In fact, the weather changes of a day in a continental climate often 
exceed those of an entire year in a typical maritime climate. The 
island of Madeira has a range of only 9 , made up of a winter average 
of 6i° and a summer average of yo°. At Manila (typical maritime 
climate) the mean annual temperature of 8o° rises to 84 in May, the 
warmest month, and falls to yy° in December and January, the coolest 
months. Islands and coast lines in general have an annual range of 
less than 30 . On the other hand, the interior of the United States, 
on the High Plains, has a range which is 25 to 5 5 greater than in the 
same latitudes on the Pacific ; and an annual range of 20 F. (40 to 
6o°) in England — a maritime climate — may be contrasted with a 
continental climate having a range of yo° F. (o° to 70 ) in the same 
latitude and at the same elevation in Asia. In England and France the 
rivers entering the ocean are rarely blocked with ice, while the Oder, 
in Silesia, is closed for about a month ; the Volga, also, is annually ice- 
bound, and even the salt Caspian is partly frozen over. Lake Baikal, 
in the latitude of Glasgow (5 6° N.), is frozen over for many months 
of the year, although in summer its shores are hotter than the coast 
of southern France. In extreme cases, as in Montana and Siberia, a 
daily temperature range of 50 is not uncommon, and the differences 
between the highest temperature of summer and the lowest of winter 
in these regions may be as great as 145 . In these cases the climate 
is made particularly inhospitable by the fact that a change of ioo° 
may be recorded in a few days (§ 119). 


114. Winds as a climatic factor. The effects of the climatic fac- 
tors already mentioned are largely shown in the increase, decrease, or 
modification of temperature. Winds, also, are of importance in this 
connection as effective agents in the transference of heat. They effect 
an interzonal distribution of heat, and were it not for the winds 
there would be a sharp line of demarcation between the air lying 
over land and that over sea, in place of the constant interchange 
now exhibited. 

Winds, however, are primarily concerned with the distribution of 
moisture over the face of the earth. Evaporation from the sea and 
other water bodies is continually going on, and the air is thus being 
supplied with water vapor. In the belt of calms along the equator, 
moisture rises from the ocean during the forenoon and is returned 
as rain before evening. The movement of air in this case is practi- 
cally all vertical, and the rain which has been drawn from the sea falls 
in torrents in the immediate locality. In the climatic belts occupied by 
the trades and westerlies and also by the less regular winds, moisture 
is often carried to great distances by air currents. The southeast trades 
of the Atlantic take up water vapor as they cross the ocean and drop 
it as rain on the South American continent in regions where the air 
is sufficiently cooled by elevation to convert the water vapor into rain. 
Likewise the northeast trades leave no rain on the parched Sahara, 
but yield up their water vapor on coming into contact with the high- 
lands of Guiana. 

In general, it may be said that winds are chiefly responsible for 
the unequal distribution of moisture over the earth. Winds are also 
the chief cause of ocean currents, 1 and thereby exert a marked though 
indirect influence on the transference of heat from one region to 
another by oceanic circulation (§ 19). 

115. Topography. The relative distribution of land and sea and the 
shape of the land surface are also important climatic factors whose 
influence is exerted largely in controlling the amount and distribution 
of temperature and rainfall. The fact that the southern hemisphere 
is chiefly occupied by water is the fundamental factor which accounts 
for the differences between the climates of the south temperate and the 
north temperate zones. The presence of continuous land bodies, like 
the line from Patagonia to Labrador, modifies the normal circulation 
of winds and water, gives direction to ocean currents, and interferes 
with the normal distribution of heat and cold. 

1 The climatic influence of currents has been discussed in a previous chapter 
(§§ 17-19)- 



The effect of topography on climate is shown in mountain valleys 
and also in regions of moderate relief where decided differences in 
temperature may occur within limited areas. Near the hamlet of Fin 
delen, Switzerland, barley and rye are grown at an altitude of 6900 
feet on slopes with southern exposure, but on the opposite side of the 
mountain, patches of snow lie at a lower altitude than the grain fields 
on the southern slope. The favorite location for orchards in Canada 
and the United States is on hills with southern exposure ; on the 
other hand, the vineyards of Cape Colony and the peach orchards 
of New Zealand are planted on slopes facing the north. 

On a smaller scale, the presence of a lake or the trend of a minor 
valley may influence local temperature and thereby determine the 
position of farms and the character of the crop to be raised, as is 
seen in the grape culture of New York or of France. Topographic 
control is particularly evident in cultivation of specialized "fancy" 
crops whose high market value depends upon appearance or flavor. 

The influence of topography on the distribution of rainfall is, how- 
ever, even more marked than its effect on temperature. When moist 
air is forced to ascend, its water vapor is condensed and falls as rain, 
leaving little to supply the lands which lie beyond. Accordingly, every 
mountain range and plateau has a wet windward side and a dry leeward 
side if it is located across the path of prevailing winds. Thus the 
mountains of Wales have, on their west slopes, at slight elevation, 60 
to 80 inches of rain ; on the higher slopes, 80 to 100, reaching over 1 50 
inches on Snowdon ; while the eastern foothills about Wrexham re- 
ceive only a little over 30 inches of rainfall. In the trade-wind zone 
of the Andes the west side of the mountains is scantily supplied 
with rain, while the east side is constantly drenched ; in the southern 
Andes in the belt of the westerlies, these conditions are reversed. 
The highlands of Bolivia and Peru, the Great Basin of Utah and 
Nevada, and the central plateau of Asia with the Gobi desert are 
illustrations of arid lands whose supply of water is cut off by obstruct- 
ing mountains. Even minor variations in topography may produce im- 
portant results. Thus measurements taken in the valley of the Tweed 
in connection with the water supply of the city of Edinburgh show 
that under similar conditions of exposure, but at different altitudes, 
there was an increase of 2.5 inches of rainfall in each 100 feet of 
increase in elevation. 

The relation of topography to rainfall is especially well exhibited in 
California and Nevada (fig. 18). The water vapor here is brought by 
the westerlies, which pass over the low Coast Range, across the wide 



Sacramento valley, and up the slopes of the Sierra Nevada to elevations 
of 10,000 feet, then down to the Great Basin (§ 68). Beginning on 
the coast at the Farallon lighthouse, with 18.44 inches, the rainfall 
increases on the Coast Range at San Francisco to 22.77, then de- 
creases on the lowlands in the lee of those mountains. On the slopes 

51.18 in. 




18.44 in 2 ?" '"I ^.78- 

Sea Level 25 miles 50 75 100 125 150 175 2u0 2S6 230 

Fig. i 8. Relation of Topography to Rainfall 

of the Sierra Nevada the precipitation again increases to 51.18 inches 
at Cisco, dropping to 47.74 inches at the summit. After passing the 
summit the decrease in supply back of the mountains is very rapid, 
for the rainfall drops on the Nevada side to 5 .94 inches at Reno and 
4.23 inches at Wadsworth. 1 

Elements of Climate which most directly concern Man 

116. General statement. The climatic factors above described de- 
termine the atmospheric conditions to which plants and animals must 
adjust themselves (§§ 133-136 ; cf.§§ 143-145) in order to maintain a 
footing in any region. These factors combine to determine three ele- 
ments which bear most directly upon the life of man, namely, tem- 
perature, rainfall, and the distribution of temperature, rainfall, and 
sunshine throughout the year. 

117. Effect of the atmosphere on temperature. The temperature 
of space outside the atmosphere approximates the "absolute zero" 
(—273.7° C), and it has been calculated that if the atmosphere 
were removed, the mean temperature of the earth's surface would be 
H5°F. ; reaching 350° in the daytime and dropping to 123° below 
zero at night. This would give a daily temperature range of 473°, 
a condition which would make plant and animal life impossible. Thus 
we see that the effect of the atmosphere is to retain heat near the 
earth and to prevent enormous extremes. 

1 Hamlin, M Water Supply and Irrigation," Paper No. 89, United States Geological 


118. Zones and temperature. The temperature of many places on 
the earth's surface has been determined by observations, and its dis- 
tribution may be approximately shown on a map by means of isotherms, 
that is, lines drawn through places of equal temperature, — annual, 
monthly, or seasonal. Examination of an isothermal map 1 will show 
that isotherms are not straight lines parallel with the equator, but that 
they are extremely irregular, thus expressing graphically the fact that 
many factors contribute their influence in determining the tempera- 
ture of a given place. As might be expected, isothermal lines are seen 
to be most regular in the southern hemisphere, particularly over the 
ocean, where they nearly coincide with parallels of latitude. In other 
parts of the world, and particularly over land, there is but slight agree- 
ment between the two sets of lines. On a chart of mean annual tem- 
perature for the year, the most marked variation is seen to be produced 
by ocean currents and westerlies, which in the northern hemisphere 
bring a proportionately larger amount of heat to the east side of oceans 
than to their west shores. The same effect is felt south of the equator. 
If we compare the isotherms for January and July we see that in 
winter they bend toward the equator on the land and away from the 
equator over the sea, and that in general the lines over water bodies 
are more uniform and regular than those over land, showing the tem- 
perature of the land to be characterized by variation and that of the 
water by uniformity. Furthermore, we notice that the mean annual 
temperature of a place changes little from year to year. Thus at Geneva, 
Switzerland, the highest mean annual temperature for 20 years was 
5 1 .6°, and the lowest 49.9 , — a difference of 1 .7°. New Haven has a 
January temperature of 28 and a July temperature of J2 C ', with only 
slight variations in 100 years. Places with the same mean annual 
temperature may be grouped into zones whose boundaries are iso- 
therms. The torrid zone lies between the annual isotherms of yo° 
on both sides of the equator and the temperate zones between yo° and 
30 . The frigid zones at the earth's poles are inclosed by the isotherm 
of 30 . The zones of temperature are not fixed in position, but shift 
back and forth over the equator with the changes of the sun's position. 
The amount of shifting is irregular but not usually very great, so that 
certain parts of the earth may be marked off as being always hot or 
always temperate, while other regions are characterized by cold winters 
with temperate summers, etc. The map (fig. 19) shows the location of 
these roughly defined zones. 

1 Such maps appear in text-books of physical and commercial geography and in 
all good atlases. 



119. Temperature ranges. The range of temperature is the differ- 
ence between high and low thermometer readings for a given place. 
Records may be grouped to show the mean annual range, that is, the 
difference between the mean of the coldest month and the mean of 
the warmest month ; or the daily range ; or the seasonal range ; or 
the absolute temperature range, that is, the difference between the 
highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded at a given place. The 
daily range of temperature, due to the rotation of the earth, and the 
seasonal range, due to its revolution, and the temperature extremes, 
due to the combined influence of several climatic factors, are more im- 
portant to mankind than the mean annual temperature ; for just as it 


Fig. 19. Zones of Temperature. (After Dryer) 

is necessary to build levees for the highest floods — not the average 
ones — and to construct sea walls to meet the extraordinary wave which 
may come but once a year, so plants and animals are not adapted to 
a given climate unless they are prepared to meet its most excessive 
variations. Vegetable and animal forms live and flourish in widely 
different temperatures after they become adjusted (§ 1 36), but sudden 
and violent changes of climate are extremely difficult to endure. The 
deep-sea fish would probably be exterminated if the water on the sea 
bottom should change more than 2 ; peach trees would die if the 
winter season were slightly colder than the normal ; and if the climate 
at Minnesota were transferred for one year to the Amazon basin, that 
region would be swept practically bare of plant and animal life. 


The mean annual range of temperature varies from 1 20 in north- 
east Siberia to less than io° in certain continental islands ; for most 
of the southern hemisphere it is under 20 , while half of the land 
masses in the northern hemisphere attain an annual range of over 6o°. 
For instance, Port Stanley, on the Falkland Islands (lat. 5 1° S.), has an 
annual range of 1 3 J° (June, 36 ; February, 49. 5°), while Greenwich 
(lat. 51 N.) has a range of 24.8 (January, 38.8 ; July, 63.6 ). The 
influence of the sea on annual range may be seen by comparing Verk- 
hoyansk, Siberia, with Iceland. Both are near the arctic circle, but 
Verkhoyansk has a range of 119. 8° (January, —61. 2°; July, 58.6 ), 
while the mean annual range of Iceland is 18. 5 (January, 27. i°; 
August, 4 5. 6°). Certain localities are much warmer or much colder 
than would be expected from their position. Thus, in January north- 
east Siberia is 30 colder and northwest Europe 35 warmer than 
their location would seem to warrant ; and the Hudson Bay district 
is 2 5 colder in January and 20 warmer in July than would be ex- 
pected from its position. 

The minimum annual temperature for the world is — 76 F., recorded 
at Verkhoyansk, Siberia, and the lowest actual temperature observed 
in this locality is — 89 F. In the Great Bear Lake region of North 
America the thermometer records an annual minimum of — 5 8°, and 
an actual temperature of — J 2° has been measured. In the Yukon 
Valley a temperature of — 68° has been recorded, in Greenland — y6°, 
and a minimum temperature of — 63. 1 ° has been registered in northern 
Montana. On the other hand, a temperature of 68° and above is main- 
tained throughout the year in a restricted area on the Guiana coast of 
South America, on the African coast from Arabia to Zanzibar, and in a 
strip across the Indian and Pacific oceans, including Ceylon, Sumatra, 
Borneo, and Java. Areas where an annual maximum of over 113 
is expected, include a strip from the western Sahara across Egypt, 
Persia, and northwest India, and the southwest border of the United 
States in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, as well as central 
Australia in the southern hemisphere. The Sahara and Death Valley 
(1 891) reach the extreme temperature of 122 ; Arizona, 119 ; and 
temperatures of 1 12 to 1 1 5 are not uncommon in the Gila Valley and 
the Mohave Desert. The extreme annual range between the lowest 
and highest records for the southern hemisphere is 8 1 ° ; for North 
America, 153 ; for northern Asia, 1 7 1° ; and the difference. between 
the highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded is 180 , — equal 
to the difference between the freezing and boiling points of water. 
The importance of these temperature ranges is seen when two places 


with the same mean annual temperature are compared ; thus, San 
Francisco and St. Louis have a mean annual temperature of 5 6°, but 
the climate of the two places is very different ; the variation between 
the coldest and warmest months in San Francisco is 1 1 ° ; in St. Louis, 
47 ; and the extreme annual ranges of the two places are, for San 
Francisco, 71 ; and for St. Louis, 123 . 

The suddenness with which temperature changes take place is also 
an important matter to man, and accordingly daily temperature ranges 
must be taken into account. The surface water near the equator varies 
hardly 07 ° during the day, and the annual range on the sea near the 
equator is not much greater than the daily range. On land, however, the 
mean daily range may be larger than the mean annual range. At Equa- 
torville, in the interior of Africa, the daily range is 14. 5°, and the an- 
nual range 2 . Key West sometimes shows as little as 7 in its daily 
variations, while western arid regions may have a change of 40 or 
more, from day to night. In December, 1880, there was a change of 
1 1 7° in Montana in 1 7 days ; Texas has a record of a fall of tempera- 
ture of 63 in 16 hours ; and in Tibet the thermometer recorded a change 
of nearly 90 in one day, from 68° at noon to — 22 at night. A 
temperature drop of 6o° to yo° within a few days may accompany 
anticyclones of continental interiors. 

120. Rainfall. The amount of rain received by a region deter- 
mines in large measure the possibility for plant life and, accordingly, 
the chance for man to live in that region as an agriculturalist. Mois- 
ture is absolutely necessary for plants (§ J 6), and, generally speaking, 
the amount of rainfall determines the character and luxuriance of 
vegetation. Plants can adjust themselves to a very small amount of 
water, just as some seeds can germinate on ice, but to produce plants 
useful for food there must be a reasonable rainfall ; and if agriculture 
is to be carried on without expensive artificial irrigation, the precipi- 
tation must, under ordinary circumstances, in temperate latitudes, ap- 
proximate 20 inches per year. 

The production of rain requires a body of water from which moisture 
can be evaporated, air movements to distribute the moisture, and some 
cooling agency to condense the moisture and make it fall. The first 
condition is chiefly met by the sea, the second by prevailing winds, 
and the third by highlands, mountains, and the cooling effect of the 
expansion of the air in cyclonic areas (§ 105). Temperature, winds, 
topography, and air pressure are therefore the chief elements con- 
cerned with rainfall, and, in accordance with the relative efficiency of 
these factors, a rainfall map of the world is covered with a series of 


irregular patches indicating the amount of precipitation. The recorded 
extremes occur in the Salton desert, California, where less than one 
tenth of an inch has fallen in a year, and in Assam, which receives 
over 500 inches. In spite of the great variability both in amount and 
frequency of precipitation, and the apparent irregularity of its distri- 
bution, there are nevertheless some underlying principles which may 
be borne in mind : 

1. High latitudes and high altitudes have small rainfall, because 
the temperature of the air is too low to allow it to contain a large 
amount of moisture. Thus central Greenland, Spitzbergen, and 
northern Canada have less than 10 inches. The highlands of the 
world above 10,000 feet are, in general, dry. 

2. When winds blow across steeply rising mountains, the precipi- 
tation is usually heavy on the windward side, for the moisture carried 
by winds is deposited within a narrow zone, leaving one side of the 
mountain chain wet and the other dry. Vera Cruz, on the Gulf coast 
of Mexico, has 67.9 inches of rain yearly ; Cordoba, on the mountain 
flank, 1 12.9 inches; Mexico City, 22.9 inches; and Pachuca, 8.3 
inches. At Hokitika, on the west coast of New Zealand, the rainfall 
is 112 inches ; but at Cape Campbell, on the northeastern coast, it 
is 21 inches. The highlands of Ireland, Scotiand, and Norway, the 
Lepontine Alps, and the mountainous regions of Spain, Austria, 
and the Caucasus act as condensers. 

The position of mountains also accounts in part for the excessive 
rainfalls of the world. The heaviest rainfall looked for where 
the warmest winds from the ocean come into contact with cold moun- 
tain areas, a condition found in the monsoon district of India. At the 
base of the Khasia hills, the average precipitation is 464 inches per 
year, some years over 600, and at Cherrapunji, Assam, in 1861, the 
world's record rainfall of 905 inches (over 75 feet) was recorded, 
practically all of which came in five months. 1 

3. Where trade winds blow against land masses abundant moisture 
is precipitated ; elsewhere throughout their course the rainfall is light. 
The position of these winds, indeed, is an important cause of deserts 
(§§ 124-125) and, taken in connection with the position of mountain 
chains (see 2, above), explains the distribution of most wet climates 
and of regions of extreme aridity (§§ 1 14-1 1 5). 

4. In the equatorial belt, precipitation is uniformly heavy, and as 
this belt migrates with the heat equator, there is for any given place 

1 The failure of the monsoons, 1876-1878, caused a famine, with a loss of 5,000.000 


in the tropics a dry season and a wet season, depending upon whether 
the trade winds or the zone of calms is exercising paramount control. 
During its northward migration the equatorial rain belt supplies the 
Nile, the Niger, and the Orinoco, while the Congo and the Paraguay 
are abundantly supplied when the rain belt moves southward. So 
dominant is the rainfall as a climatic factor within the tropics that 
the seasons are known as wet and dry instead of the spring, sum- 
mer, autumn, and winter of regions where temperature has greater 

5. Rainfall is heavier near the coast than in the interior of con- 
tinents. The Washington-Oregon coast has the heaviest rainfall in 
the United States, — over 100 inches, — followed by the Mississippi 
and Carolina coast lines with 60 inches. In Europe the yearly pre- 
cipitation at Utrecht, near the coast, is 27.5 inches; at Berlin, 22.8 
inches; and at Orenburg, 2000 miles inland, 14. 1 inches. 

6. Rainfall conditions are uniform in the tropics, fairly regular in 
the arctic and south temperate zones, but very irregular in the north 
temperate zone. 

121. Distribution of temperature, rainfall, and sunshine through- 
out the year. From the standpoint of commerce and of agriculture 
it is not enough that the factors of climate should be sufficient in 
amount ; there must also be a favorable distribution of these factors, 
if the activities of man are to produce successful results. Attention 
has already been called to the fact that animal and plant life are closely 
adjusted to their environment, and that great changes and, especially, 
sudden changes of any kind are difficult to bear. For example, 20 
inches or less of rainfall is sufficient for agriculture if properly dis- 
tributed, but it is insufficient if it comes at the wrong time of the year. 
On the other hand, abundant crops have been raised with 1 2 inches of 
rain, all of which came during the growing season. The amount of 
rain, therefore, is not so important as its distribution. Jerusalem has 
26 inches of rainfall, about the same amount as London, and more than 
is received by the great wheat fields of Minnesota and Dakota ; 2\\ 
inches of it falls, however, during December, January, February, and 
March, and only one-half inch during the growing season, — April 
to July. Italy and Greece receive a fair rainfall, but its distribution 
is such that prolonged droughts occur in summer and irrigation 
becomes necessary. The United States has a moderate amount of 
rainfall, which is so distributed as to be particularly effective in the 
growing season. In Florida and Georgia the heaviest rainfall comes 
in June, July, and August ; in Arizona and New Mexico 35 per cent 



of the rain falls in July and August ; and in Montana 33 per cent in 
May and June. The critical months for agriculture in the United 
States are April, May, June, and July, and during those months the 
great central valley north of latitude 3 5° receives 30 to 50 per cent 
of its annual precipitation, thus insuring not only the growth of crops 
but also large productiveness (§§217, 218). 

The number of cloudy days is also an important climatic element, 
for it affects the distribution of plants, the healthfulness of climate, 
and, indirectly, exerts an influence on human disposition and charac- 
ter. In Europe there is an increase in sunshine from west to east and 
from north to south. York, England, receives 28 per cent of its pos- 
sible sunshine ; Rostock, 38 per cent ; and Irkutsk, 50 per cent. Cen- 
tral Germany has 38 per cent ; Austria, 40 to 45 per cent ; Italy, 45 to 
54 per cent ; and the interior of Spain, 66 to 68 per cent. In northern 
England and northern Germany the sun rarely shines more than 25 
hours during the whole month of December, while the Mediterranean 
coast receives four times as much sunshine within the same length of 
time. The amount of sunshine for the United States averages above 
50 per cent, reaching 70 per cent in Arizona and 20 per cent about 
Lake Erie. Toledo has 1 36 days of rain and cloud during a year ; 
Buffalo, 169 ; and Volney, New York, 195. In the Rocky Mountain 
regions and the high plateaus the number falls to 70, and the Pacific 
coast has 66 such days at San Francisco and 42 at San Diego, reach- 
ing a minimum of 13 at Yuma. Sitka, on the other hand, has an 
annual average of 224 days without sunshine, and Unalaska has 250. 

Zones of Climate 

122. Zones of climate are areas in which similar weather conditions 
prevail. They are not identical with zones of temperature, wind zones, 
or belts of rainfall, but are the result of a combination of all the fac- 
tors which determine climate. 

123. Equatorial zone. The equatorial zone is a belt about 30 wide, 
characterized by low atmospheric pressure, by calms, and by abundant 
rain. The temperature is always warm, averaging over 70 , and the an- 
nual mean isotherm of 85 is included in this belt. The annual range 
of temperature is small, usually under io°, in some places less than 5 . 
In fact, the daily range is usually larger than the annual, so that it 
may be considered that "night is the winter of the tropics." True 
seasons, based on temperature, are unknown. Rainfall and prevailing 
winds determine the subdivision, and the life of plants and animals, 


including man, is controlled almost solely by these factors. In this 
belt are many of the heavy rainfall regions of the world ; an average 
for the whole zone would be perhaps ioo inches. Drought, as well 
as frost, is unknown. As this equatorial zone of rains and calms 
shifts back and forth across the terrestrial equator under the sun, it 
gives to localities near the equator two rainy and two dry seasons. 
In brief, the climate of the equatorial zone is sultry and humid ; it 
has constant and abundant rains, and very marked daily rather than 
seasonal changes. Vegetation in this zone is the most luxuriant in 
the world, in fact, so luxuriant that it has been impossible for man 
to subdue it, and some of the least settled sections of the world 
are therefore those supplied with the richest vegetable life. Even to 
this day parts of equatorial South America have not been explored 
(§§149, 150). 

124. Trade- wind zones. In the region occupied by the trade winds 
(§ 1 01) both north and south of the equator the sky is bright, the air 
fresh, and there is no marked change of seasons. The winds blow 
constantly and regularly with fairly uniform velocity from about lati- 
tude 2 8° north and south of the equator ; their influence, however, is 
felt as far as latitude 40 . This is especially true in southern Europe, 
where the hot low-pressure area of the Sahara drains the air from the 
Mediterranean countries. The northeast and southeast trades become 
warmer as they approach the equator, and, accordingly, are able not 
only to hold their water vapor, but also to take up moisture from the 
land or sea over which they pass. This moisture is precipitated where 
the cooling effect of highlands is felt. Thus the trade zone is charac- 
terized by extensive arid regions and regions of heavy rainfall (§§ 20, 
125). When the entire wind system shifts north or south of the 
equator (§ 103), this trade-wind belt is carried with it, and rainy and 
dry seasons are accordingly given to districts outside of the equatorial 
regions. In the arid section of the trade- wind zone are the deserts of 
Africa, Arabia, Australia, and South America, where the dust-laden 
wind retains its moisture which is destined to be carried to the lands 
under the equator. 

A modification of the trade-zone climate is seen in the monsoon 
belt which extends over a large area adjoining the Indian Ocean, in- 
cluding Borneo and reaching even to the Japan Sea on the north. 
The summer monsoon period is characterized by warm moisture-laden 
winds which come into contact with the land areas of southern Asia, 
producing a sultry, rainy season. During the winter monsoon the region 
is in control of the trades, and a dry, cool climate prevails (§ 103). 


In brief, the trade zones are characterized by fair weather, steady 
winds, and slight changes of annual temperature. Rainfall at sea level 
is infrequent or absent ; the lowlands are deserts, and the highlands in 
the paths of the winds are subject to heavy rain. Over the ocean the 
trade climates are the most uniform known. 

125. Deserts. A rainfall map of the world reveals the fact that 
deserts are not distributed in haphazard fashion, but that they are 
located along the tropics or in the lee of mountain masses, and that, 
as to origin, they fall into two groups, as follows : l 

1 . Deserts located in the zones where the trade winds originate ; 
where moisture is taken up but not redeposited (§ 124). The north- 
east trades are chiefly responsible for the deserts of Arabia, Sahara, 
and, in less degree, for those of lower California. The southeast 
trades produce the desert area of West Australia, the Kalahari Desert 
of Africa, and the Atacama Desert of Chile and Peru. Small islands 
in the path of the trades are arid, like St. Helena, many of the 
Bahamas, the smaller members of the Galapagos group, etc. ; the 
larger ones have wet and dry sides, as Hawaii and Madagascar. 

2. Deserts on the leeward side of mountains. Any inclosed basin 
is more or less arid, as exhibited by Bohemia, the Hungarian plain, 
and the great Po valley ; and in places where not only the mountain 
borders but also the inclosed area is at a considerable elevation, pre- 
cipitation is greatly decreased. Thus the west coast of Spain receives 
60 inches of rainfall, while the central plateau is arid (20 inches). 
Vancouver is plentifully supplied with rain, while eastern Oregon re- 
ceives less than 1 5 inches each year. For the same reason, Peru and 
central Australia are arid, and the great Gobi and other deserts of 
central Asia are deprived of a water supply. The climatic condition 
of southeastern California is in part due to this cause. 

The temperature ranges of deserts are great, especially on conti- 
nental interiors, and, in fact, these deserts might be considered as 
extreme types of continental climates (§113), with corresponding 
extremes of plant and animal life, and with characteristic topographic 
forms. Such dry climates are sparsely inhabited by plants and animals 
which have been adjusted to the unusual conditions found there 
(§§ l 33> J 36, 138-140). Plants are provided with long roots to take 
up moisture and with thick bark and small leaves to prevent evapora- 
tion ; and they are usually protected by thorns or poisonous juices. 
Animals likewise have developed structures to assist them in their 

1 Deserts may be produced by extreme cold as well as by excessive aridity, but 
only the latter class is here discussed. 


desert environment. They are either swift or poisonous and have 
uniformly the capacity to go for long periods without water. Thus 
the slow-moving tortoise, as well as the camel, has developed organs 
for carrying an extra amount of water. 

When water is supplied, deserts may be favorable regions for settle- 
ment, for the heat, though great, is not oppressive, and the air is 
singularly pure and free from disease germs. In spite, however, of 
the most elaborate irrigation enterprises, these districts are doomed to 
scant population. Oases in deserts are not the " paradises " of fiction, 
but merely regions where conditions are relatively more favorable. 
Even here the water supply is limited and often unpalatable, and sand 
storms, too, must be endured. Habitable oases are not numerous in 
hot climates, and stretches between " water holes " in deserts are often 
too great to be traversed except by a well-organized expedition. The 
first important station west of Cairo in the Sahara Desert is the oasis 
of Siwa, 350 miles distant. The lack of water in the deserts of North 
America is such that the early immigrants, even under most skillful 
guidance, suffered hardship and even death, and to this day travel 
in parts of Arizona, California, and Nevada is difficult and even 

126. Transition zones. A transition zone of high pressure (horse 
latitudes, § 101), marked by calms and variable winds, lies between 
the trades and the temperature zones. The shifting of the wind belts 
brings this region alternately in control of the trades and of the west- 
erlies. Such regions are too far from the equator to receive abundant 
rains and are out of reach of the storms of the westerlies. They 
therefore have a unique and agreeable climate. The rains come in 
the winter and are not excessive in amount, and the summer has con- 
tinuously fair weather. Such regions are noted as health resorts ; they 
include southern California and practically all of the Mediterranean 
shores of Europe and Africa. 

127. South temperate zone. The south temperate zone, between 
the horse latitudes and the polar areas, is a region of strikingly uni- 
form climatic conditions. Being almost entirely a zone of water, all 
the factors of climate, except the vicinity of the sea (§ 1 1 3), are mini- 
mized. Summer and winter are only moderately developed, the sea- 
sons consisting rather of a few days of stormy weather followed by 
a few days of unusually fair weather ; and extremes of any kind are 
rare throughout the zone. 

The prevailing winds are the westerlies, — the " brave west winds" 
of the sailor, which are constant and much stronger than the trades. 


A cloudy sky is very common, and in the southern part of the belt 
snow may occur in any month of the year. Typical south temperate 
weather conditions are exhibited by the smaller islands of this zone, 
whose cool summers are followed by slightly colder winters, giving a 
monotonous and unattractive climate. South Georgia, in the latitude 
of England, is singularly inhospitable. 

128. North temperate zone. The north temperate zone extends 
from the isotherm of 68° to the isotherm of 30 . The name "tem- 
perate " is peculiarly inapt as a description of this belt, for it is, in 
fact, a zone of the most marked extremes in winds, rainfall, tempera- 
ture, and variety of climatic details. The winds of the north temperate 
zone are the "stormy westerlies," much less regular than the trades 
or the westerlies of the south temperate zone, and much more inter- 
rupted by cyclonic storms. The rainfall over a large part of this zone 
is 20 to 80 inches, and it is controlled in its distribution by cyclones 
and topography (§§ 106, 1 15). The differences in temperature be- 
tween the hottest and coldest months reach 1 20 in Siberia and 8o° in 
North America, and many of the coldest and some of the warmest 
lands are within this zone. Attention has already been called to the 
fact that many regions included in it have temperatures much above 
or much below the normal (§§ 117, 1 19). 

The north temperate is the only zone which has a division of the 
year into four seasons, — spring, summer, autumn, and winter, — a 
division based on differences of temperature. This fact has an im- 
portant bearing on the development and adjustment of plant and 
animal life, and there seems to be direct causal relation between 
such a climate which tends to stimulate activity and the presence of 
the great civilized races of the world in the north temperate zone. 
Seasonal changes encourage physical and mental initiative ; food may 
be secured in this zone, but not without labor ; forethought is essen- 
tial, yet life is not too hard, as in the polar climates, nor too easy, as 
in the tropics (§§ 147-148, 172 ff.). Within this zone the distribu- 
tion of temperature and rainfall and sunshine is so complex that the 
variety of plant life and animals and men exceeds that of any other 
part of the earth. 

129. Polar climates. The polar climates are characterized by the 
presence of two seasons, — a winter of ten months and a summer of 
two, with a sudden change from one to the other. There is no warm 
season, and daily weather changes are practically unknown. A rain- 
fall of about 10 inches is supplied by strong humid winds which are 
especially unfavorable for plants and animals. 


130. Climates of east and west coasts. The climate of the eastern 
coasts of oceans outside of the tropics is much more uniform and 
equable than that of western coasts on the same parallels of latitude. This 
is due to the fact that the winds, together with the ocean currents, carry 
heat to the northeast in the northern hemisphere and to the south- 
east in the southern. England, in the latitude of Labrador, is a garden 
spot ; Labrador is almost uninhabitable ; the warm districts of Spain 
and Italy are on about the latitude of New York. The harbor of Ham- 
merfest, lat. yo° N., is not ice bound, while the harbors on the east 
coast of the United States, as low as latitude 40 , may freeze over. 
The climate of western Europe is much like that of the south tem- 
perate zone, while eastern North America has the variations character- 
istic of the north temperate. In a small way the same difference is seen 
on Lake Michigan, whose east shore is ''tempered" by the lake waters. 

131. Mountain climates. Owing to the effect of elevation as a 
climatic factor, mountain climates may be grouped as a distinct sub- 
division. If high enough, their tops have polar climates, even in trop- 
ical regions ; at moderate heights they furnish delightful climates, — 
clear and dry in winter, moist in summer. Emigrants from colder 
latitudes may find their home climates in the tropics at certain eleva- 
tions. Thus India is ruled from 7000 feet above the sea, and Bogota, 
Colombia, in the equatorial zone, has one of the most delightful cli- 
mates known. The life of tropical man, — his agriculture, arts, insti- 
tutions, etc., — forms a fascinating study in relation to environment 1 
(cf. §§147, 175 ff-, 198). 

132. Changes of climate. That the earth has undergone great cli- 
matic changes during its history is proved by geological evidence. 
Tropical plants once grew in Greenland, and forests of luxuriant ferns 
and palms occupied the area which is now called Pennsylvania and 
West Virginia. During the glacial time the whole northern part of 
the American continent was covered with ice. 

Important changes have also taken place in recent times. In Tur- 
kestan and Persia there has been a gradual desiccation during histor- 
ical times. Village sites are found in the midst of desert regions, and 
there is evidence that the people moved upstream as the water gradu- 
ally decreased. At first, irrigation was practiced, then, as the water 
supply decreased, the fields were abandoned. There is little evidence 
of a progressive change of climate at the present time toward cold 
or warm, dry or wet ; but the existence of cycles of changes appears 

1 For an account of the controls exercised on man by types of climate, see Ward's 
Climate, Chaps. VIII-X inclusive. 


from a study of meteorological records. There is a climatic cycle of 
1 1 years which corresponds with the increase and decrease of sun 
spots. A cycle of 35 years is also indicated by researches over a large 
part of the world, a period during which comes a series of cold or 
rainy years, followed by years which are warmer or drier. For instance, 
western Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado were settled near 
the close of a wet period (1880- 1890), only to be abandoned as the 
dry cycle came on, and reoccupied as the supply of water increased. 1 

1 For a discussion of this subject and the bearing of climatic cycles on history, 
see Huntington's Pulse of Asia, Climate of Ancient Palestine, etc., and Bowman's 
" Man and Climatic Change in South America," Geog.Jour. (London), March, 1909. 



133. Adaptation to environment. Beside that section of the phys- 
ical environment which might be called inorganic, and which has now 
been described in its several most significant phases, there exists yet 
another section, the organic. The influence of the flora and fauna of 
a region upon its human inhabitants is, as will be seen (§§ 149 ff.), un- 
questionably very great ; and with a view to understanding the type of 
life lived by man in various parts of the world, it is necessary to treat 
somewhat of the natural distribution of plant and animal forms. The 
explanation of this distribution will also constitute the general case 
under which can be ranged the more complicated instance afforded 
by man's distribution (§§ 172 ff.). 

What we desire at present to know about plant and animal life 
over the earth is, briefly speaking, how such variety came to exist. 
From a multitude of observations it is found that plants and animals 
are somehow adapted to the natural environment in which they live : 
desert flora will store moisture and do not easily lose it, polar animals 
have thicker and longer fur than their congeners of warmer zones, — it 
is often white in color, or even changes color with the seasons, — and 
so on. To catalogue the correspondences between organic life and the 
inorganic environment would be an endless task ; certain typical cases, 
besides, will occur when we come to consider the influence of flora and 
fauna on man (Chapter VIII). It is more profitable here to outline 
with brevity the general causes which lie behind the production and 
distribution of the several types of flora and fauna. 

134. The struggle for existence. First of all, organic life is subject 
to increase at a geometrical ratio — to an increase so rapid that the slow- 
est reproducing of organisms would speedily fill up the earth with their 
offspring were there no hindrances to their multiplication. An annual 
plant producing only 50 seeds a year would become the ancestor, in the 
ninth year, of some 1,950,000,000,000,000 plants ; if each of these 
occupied one square foot of soil, the whole surface of the globe would 
then be occupied, and some 500,000,000,000,000 seeds would be left 


over with no place for their growth. Animals producing ten pairs an- 
nually to each pair (each animal living ten years) would show over 
70o,ooo,ocx),ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo pairs alive in the twentieth year. Yet 
these rates of possible increase are not large : consider the number of 
acorns on the oak, or of eggs in the roe of fish. But with all this 
possibility of increase we know that such accession does not take 
place ; in general, the numbers of the plants and animals, taking them, 
say, over a hundred years, fluctuate around an average ; they are now 
greater, now less, but in the long run stationary. Hence we must in- 
fer a tremendous death rate of all organisms ; but since the first, busi- 
ness of any organism is to live, death will not be accepted without a 
struggle. Plants will choke each other out ; and animals, with a more 
generally recognized " instinct for self-preservation," will not succumb 
while there is a chance to resist. This is the struggle for existence ; 
and it is so severe, as can well be conceived, that even a slight natural 
advantage or disadvantage may decide the issue of life and death. 
Weakness of any kind may prove fatal ; hence any group of organ- 
isms, which even though they weather the struggle for a time, yet do 
so at a sacrifice of strength, have no surety as the competition renews 
or grows fiercer (cf. §§ 138-140). 

135. Survival of the fitter. But no two organisms really have the 
same chance in this struggle, for no two are alike. There are two 
factors in life which operate, the one to render offspring different 
from parents and from each other, and the other to keep the type the 
same. The former is variation, the latter heredity. Heredity produces 
its effects by transmitting ancestral variations more or less perfectly 
from generation to generation ; thus, while offspring vary, sometimes 
slightly, sometimes greatly (mutations), from parents, in general they 
all belong to a single type with certain more or less unique characters. 
Armed now with these principles, let us return to our struggle for ex- 
istence. Certain types will prevail because of certain characters which 
enable them to fit into the environment and endure its conditions ; the 
rest will die or degenerate. The survivors will produce the next gen- 
eration, which will tend to possess by heredity the winning qualities 
in the struggle — which never ceases. Those of the second generation 
possessing the most marked variations in the happy direction will again 
survive and breed, and so on. This is, of course, an age-long process. 
Thus will the possession of the fortunate qualities be fixed and their 
degree of advantageousness be increased. Those organisms which pos- 
sess these qualities will be better adapted to live ; in their persistence 
will be seen the survival of the fitter. 


Of all the bear cubs born in a cold region some will tend to develop coats 
warmer than those of others ; their chance to live is greater ; they will tend to pro- 
duce young which show the same variation toward better protection. Under severe 
competition in the struggle for existence we should, perhaps after some centuries, 
have a development of the thick, long fur characteristic of the polar bear. This 
type would be the fitter. 

136. Modification and adaptation. If, now, it is the fitter organisms 
which survive, then, should the environment be changed, in order to re- 
main fit the successful organisms must undergo further modifications 
of structure. In short, the whole process which has been sketched 
leads up to structural modifications on the part of plants and animals, 
to changes calculated to set them, or to keep them, in harmony with 
their natural environments. The whole of the above is briefly resumed 
in the following (Wallace's) chart of the evolutionary process 1 : 

Proved Facts Consequences 

A. Rapid increase of numbers"] „ . , 

_ f . V Struggle for existence 

B. Total numbers stationary j 

C. Struggle for existence "1 _ . . , , „ 

n ir -5 -^ u j-*. r Survival of the fittest [fitter] 

D. Variation with heredity J L J 

E. Survival of the fittest [fitter "p . .... 

_ ■_. - . L J \ Structural modifications 

F. Change of environment J 

Now it is precisely these structural modifications upon which the 
various genera, species, and varieties of plants and animals are distin- 
guished ; that is, these adaptations to environment are what make the 
type or character of the organism. Here, then, we have the how of 
the matter of plant and animal differences, whereby — to keep in 
mind our especial interest — the lower organisms are able to affect in 
one peculiar way or another the life of man ; whereby they constitute 
a condition of human environment, varying in different localities. 

137. Dispersal. A single alternative in the struggle for existence 
stands over against death, degeneracy, or adaptation ; and that is flight. 
The migration of birds with the seasons is only a swifter flight than 
the slow movement of forests along with temperature belts, during 
geologic ages. Rather than die or adapt, the arctic plant has ascended 
the upper ridges of tropical mountains, and the ancient animals, now 
of a polar, now of a tropical type, have deserted central Europe. But 

1 The teacher will appreciate the fact that so brief a sketch of so large a subject 
as is attempted in the present chapter must be greatly condensed ; and that much 
which is implicit in the above chart, and in the several paragraphs of the chapter, 
should be made explicit in the class-room discussion. 

That the evolutionary process does not result in superlative but only in compara- 
tive fitness is indicated by the bracketed emendation of the chart. 



flight has not always been the destined alternative ; under the impul- 
sion of some necessity, or because there was, after all, less resistance 
along the way of adaptation than otherwise, plant and animal life has, 
through the ages, penetrated all possible regions of the globe, and, be- 
coming adapted to this and that environment, climatic and other, has 
come to constitute the characteristic types of various regions. The how 
of this diversification, so wide reaching in its influence on man, is now 
explained, .at least in its most general outlines. Something of the influ- 
ence upon man of this diversified organic environment, — itself so 
dependent upon the " inorganic," — as well as something of man's 
own form of adaptation, rendered more easily explicable now that the 
process of plant and animal adaptation has been indicated, will come 
before us in the succeeding chapters. 




The study of Part. I of this volume will have acquainted the student 
with the main features of natural environment, especially with those 
which exert a strong and constant influence upon man — and so upon 
trade. Into this environment it is now proposed to introduce man, and 
to show how his life is conditioned by the factors of which an account 
has been given. It is manifest to one who has given but superficial 
attention to the influence, direct or indirect, of natural environment, 
that we can no more than sketch the most general and universal of 
these life conditions. Influence of natural environment is all-perva- 
sive ; but to attempt to pursue it into its finer ramifications would be 
to immerse the reader in a mass of detail from which he would very 
likely emerge with scarcely greater profit than from the consecutive 
reading of the dictionary. 1 

The next section of the volume will be devoted, therefore, to the 
-^most broad and general influences of natural environment upon man. 
And since man is an organic being, like those whose life and distri- 
bution have been studied, the method employed will consist largely 
in the application to man of the evolutionary reasoning just now 
(§§ T 33 #•) applied to the plants and animals. But, as any one can 
perceive with a little reflection, the cases are not absolutely similar; 
our main concern will be to show how the case of man differs from 
that of the flora and fauna by reason of the fact that he is so much 
more highly developed in brain power than are the lower organisms. 

1 Geographers and anthropologists have given much attention to the relations 
of human societies to their regions. It is in the power of the teacher to interest 
students in the gathering of instances bearing upon the contentions set forth in 
succeeding chapters. 

I2 5 



138. Necessity of adaptation. Every alteration of any importance 
in their environment sets before the animal or plant, as has just been 
seen, a series of alternatives : death, degeneration, flight, or adapta- 
tion. What is the fate of man, the so-called highest of the animals, 
under the same conditions ? It is well known that men die when nat- 
ural conditions become unfavorable enough ; famines recurrently sweep 
many from the earth. Again, they degenerate when they are forced 
to live a life that is possible to live, but only in a miserable way. 
Some of the lowest tribes of men, like the South African Bushmen 
or the Digger Indians, have been forced by stronger tribes to with- 
draw into the desert and to exist upon a lower plane of life. The 
physique of such peoples betrays the hardships which they have suf- 
fered. Men also flee from an unfavorable environment, thus escaping 
death or degeneracy, if the way into a more favorable locality lies 
open for them. Much of migration and colonization comes under 
this alternative. The abandoned farms of New England furnish illus- 
tration of this topic : their former owners may be in the West, in the 
cities, or elsewhere where effort wins a subsistence or a comfort im- 
possible under the old conditions. The Italians and other foreigners 
who are taking up these abandoned farms, whose ideas of a satisfac- 
tory standard of living are not so ambitious, may represent the level 
of life to which the emigrants were unwilling to descend. 

The alternative of adaptation remains ; and this is the one which, 
for the time, occupies our attention. An animal species, instead of 
pursuing any one of the other courses, may so adapt itself as to get 
back into harmony with its environment. In a cold region, as has been 
seen, a coat of fur can be acquired ; in deserts a regular ration of 
water can be renounced. Animals and plants perform physical adap- 
tations to environment ; and we observe the visible results of these ad- 
justments and classify the lower organisms upon the basis of such 
characteristics. But how is it in the case of man ? Certainly there 
has been little change worth mention in man's physique since the 
earliest records. The various local peoples, with their characteristic fea- 
tures, color, and so on, as we know them to-day, appear in Egyptian 



paintings of some 3300 years ago (1380 B.C.). 1 Skulls and other hu- 
man relics dug up from ancient strata might well be duplicated among 
men of to-day. Since man was man he has undoubtedly formed several 
races, variously distinguished on the basis of color, stature, and other 
minor physical differences. But the essential oneness and lack of im- 
portant physical variation in man is conclusively proved by the ina- 
bility of scientists to mark off genera, or even species, of men. And 
yet men are found under all sorts of natural conditions — conditions 
to which other animals have had to adapt by physical modifications of 
considerable degree. Man is not exempt from the penalties of non- 
adaptation. How is it, then, that human adaptations are effected ? 

139. Intellectual adaptation. There is one respect in which the 
various human groups in the world can be, and are in practice, set 
apart one from the other, and by which men of to-day can be distin- 
guished from men of preceding centuries. This is by a comparison 
of what we call their civilisation. Now civilization is a complex affair, 
and is usually interpreted to include institutions, morals, literature, 
etc., which are but remotely connected with the struggle for life. For 
the present purpose we wish to refer only to what may be called ma- 
terial civilization, that is, to those mechanic arts, instruments, systems, 
and the like, which have given to man an increasing " power over 
nature." These arts and dexterities are plainly the result of brain 
activities on the part both of their originators and of those who have, 
through generations, contributed such additions and modifications as 
have rendered the original inventions better suited to the situation. 
Now the development of this material civilization performs for man 
the same services which actual physical adaptation discharges for 
plants and animals. Instead of growing a coat of fur in a cold climate, 
man retains the heat of his body by making himself an artificial gar- 
ment, generally stolen from the adapted animal ; instead of develop- 
ing feet and hands suitable for climbing, he makes ladders and resorts 
to a number of artificial devices ; instead of extending his reach, 
weighting his fist, and sharpening his claws through actual physical 
modifications, which would take generations upon generations to de- 
velop, he artificially and briefly accomplishes the same purpose by mak- 
ing himself a stone or metal axe. Weaker in body, slower of foot, duller 
of scent and sight, than his animal competitors, he becomes superior 
to them all through his capacity for mentally conceiving the require- 
ments of a situation and taking immediate advantage of them. 

1 A reproduction in color of such a painting may be seen in Ratzel's Hist, of 
Mankind, III, 162. 


We say that man ' ' takes thought ' ' in doing all this ; and here is 
the key to his exceptional power of adaptation. Man does not adapt 
in any important measure through modifications of his hairy coat, his 
hands and feet, but through modifications of his brain and the second- 
ary nervous system ; and the measure of his intellectual adaptation is 
what we call his material civilization, his power over nature, his in- 
dustrial organization. His tool or weapon is the visible form (realiza- 
iion) of his idea — his conscious mental adaptation. This sets man 
entirely apart from the rest of the animal world. Other animals die, 
degenerate, flee, or attain to adaptations of physical structure ; man 
has done all of these things, but, as a rule, he evades them all, because 
of the high power of adaptation of his characteristic organ, the brain. 
Animals may increase in numbers up to the supporting power of their 
natural environment, which latter changes with no reference to their 
own activities ; but man, though his numbers and characters are lim- 
ited ultimately by the same conditions, may, by taking thought and 
developing arts and processes, contrive to extract more support out 
of the same natural environment or may even modify the environ- 
ment itself in the direction of his own interests. 

140. Physical versus mental adaptation. This point deserves some emphasis 
and illustration, for, as we shall presently see (§§ 181,212), trade itself is one of the 
artificial methods developed by man, and man alone, in his struggle for existence 
and comfort. Let us imagine, for example, a small island in mid-ocean, from which 
neither man nor beast could escape by natural means. This relieves us of migra- 
tion as an element in our problem. Suppose that this island will comfortably sup- 
port twenty land animals, say, dogs, and that there are just twenty there. These 
dogs will devour, let us say, the entire food supply, each getting enough. Suppose, 
now, that the numbers are suddenly increased to twenty-five ; what will be the 
result? The following possibilities will be open: (i)five die and twenty live in 
comfort as before ; (2) twenty-five live on a lower plane of existence, i.e. have one 
fifth less food than before, degeneracy resulting ; (3) twenty-five live because some 
or all can modify — for example, can learn to get and eat sea food. This last would 
in time mean actual physical change, say, toward the seal or otter type. But each 
physical change would demand generations of time and consequently a large mor- 
tality. The death of all but the strongest twenty (the first-mentioned possibility) 
would be the most likely result. Thus natural selection would operate (§ 135). 

Let us now make the same series of suppositions in regard to man. The first 
two possibilities stated above might hold with man as with animals. But instead of 
the third — an arduous physical modification — we should find mental adaptation, 
which would speedily open up new sources of support or render the old more 
productive ; for example, the invention of nets and hooks to catch fish, of snares 
or weapons to take birds or animals, of methods of treatment of soil which would 
render plant life more exuberant, and so on. Modifications allowing of growth of 
numbers, so slow in the case of animals as to call for a large preliminary mortality, 


become in the case of man relatively easy and rapid; thus the first two possibili- 
ties would tend to be excluded, and the persistence of most of the twenty-five hu- 
man beings, rendered possible by advance in the industrial organization, would be 
the most likely result. 

141. "Conquest of nature. " The conclusion would be, then, that 
man's fate lies in his own hands — or, rather, head — in very large 
part. This is what men have come rather generally to think — so gen- 
erally, indeed, as to have become rather oblivious to the question of 
natural limitations and controls. It will be noted, however, that man's 
success in our example is due to adaptation to conditions which he can- 
not alter. Oftentimes his exploits do not appear to him to be adapta- 
tions, and he boasts himself in a lordly way the master of nature. The 
fact of it is that he has in the brain a sort of unconsciously adapting 
organ ; he often thinks he is conquering nature when he is really dis- 
covering nature's laws and conforming to them. Man can neither 
create nor annihilate natural forces ; under many conditions he is their 
plaything, but by observing their ways he can often so direct his own 
action in respect to them as to escape detriment or even gain profit 
from their action. The further course of this book is designed to 
illustrate both man's dependence upon natural conditions and the 
apparent independence he has gained through adroit adaptations 
originating in the brain. 

However, man's inmixture into what was at one time wholly the affair of 
nature (§§ 134-136) does not by any means signify unquestioned and unvaried im- 
provement. Darwin has made this perfectly clear in his comparison of artificial 
and natural selection. 1 Man's mental powers are limited and are not always reli- 
able within their limits ; his view-points are subject to change, and his span of life 
and activity is short. Too frequently, for these and other reasons set forth by 
Darwin with great clarity, his activity is ill-directed, inconsecutive, and, as com- 
pared with the unvarying process of nature, capricious and trifling. Ideas, or in- 
tellectual variations (§ 139), crowd upon each other, affording little opportunity for 
testing, until there has already followed and been attached to the reaction to be 
tested a series of corollaries and consequences which infinitely complicate and 
distract. Hence ideas and systems, while being subject to a confusing variety of 
interpretations, seldom meet such decisive tests as do physical variations ; there is, 
therefore, little to withstand their persistence or their repetition, even though their 
effect may, at some later time and in perspective, be seen to have been unfavorable 
(§ 209). It is the very introduction of the human mind that brings this about; 
men may act logically upon their premises, but the latter are based upon what 
men think (or feel) the state of the case to be, rather than upon such life-and-death 
actualities as underlie the workings of the elemental forces of nature (§ 205). 
Thus social evolution is. and must continue to be, a less rigorous process than 

1 Origin of Species, Chap. IV. 


natural evolution, and the survival of the fitter ideas and systems cannot be so 
certain as the persistence of the apter physical variation or mutation. 

We are well aware that the influence assigned by us to environing conditions 
will, in a measure, identify us with the adherents of determinism. It seems to us, 
however, that whether or not we are thereby done justice, this aspect of an eternal 
controversy needs emphasis over its opposite. In actuality we are ready to subscribe 
to the following doctrine of Ratzel (Anth., II, 465) : " Man's freedom from the co- 
ercive laws of nature always leaves a certain play between the conditions and the 
conditioned, the cause and the effect ; in addition there appears a certain mutual 
influence of man on man, . . . which warns us not to insist upon explaining 
everything from one basis." Man is in reality himself a natural force like other 
natural forces, and is not merely acted upon as an inert thing. However, since 
the topic we have set before us is the influence of physical environment, that will 
ever occupy the foreground. 

Again, the fact that so much of our material is drawn from the life of less de- 
veloped peoples — the reason for this being elsewhere set forth (§ 171) — leads us 
to remark that we again agree with Ratzel (Anth., I, 86-88) in regarding the civil- 
ized peoples as intimately bound by natural conditions. The German geographer 
holds that they are even more intimately so bound, instancing the fact that civili- 
zation is certainly as dependent upon coal and iron deposits as barbarism was upon 
any one of its staple resources. He goes on to remark that the difference between 
" nature-people " and " culture-people " lies not in the degree, but in the kind, of 
relation in which they stand to nature. Culture is not freedom from natural con- 
trol — it is a wide, broad, and complex connection (or binding) with nature. On 
the agricultural stage the bond is easier than on the collection stage, but both 
stages are naturally conditioned ; the point is that in the latter stage any adverse 
phenomenon — for instance, the wind that makes the rice kernel fall untimely — 
strikes at life itself. " We are not, on the whole, more free from nature when we 
exploit and study her more intensively ; we only make ourselves more independent 
of certain eventualities of her very being or of her course by multiplying our ties 
with her" (Ratzel, ibid., 88). 

We trust that the latter part of this volume, dealing with modern conditions, 
will, in its ensem&le, and in many of its more special cases, justify the positions 
taken in the immediately following pages, and will show these modern conditions 
of trade to be in essence no more than complicated cases of the simpler reactions 
of less developed man upon a more primitive natural environment. 


As a general proposition it is not hard to see that the destiny of 
the human animal and the type of struggle which he has to make in 
order to live, and to live satisfactorily, will differ according to the type 
of natural conditions by which he is surrounded. In practice it is of 
course impossible to take the various conditions — climate, topography, 
etc. — by themselves, for they occur together, and so mutually multi- 
ply or cancel their effects, or are derived one from the other in com- 
plex ways. For instance, climate and abundance or scarcity of trees 


go together as cause and effect, although a distinct influence upon 
man's life may be assigned, by itself, to either climate or luxurious- 
ness of vegetation. But for the sake of clearness they may be sepa- 
rated in thought, and their effects in molding man's life considered 
apart from one another. 


142. Climate, it should be noted, is a condition over which man 
has no control, and can have none unless he can acquire a far more 
extensive power over the sun than had Joshua of old. That he can 
produce certain very localized "climates," e.g. in his furnace-heated 
houses and in his refrigerating plants of various kinds, does not, of 
course, affect the general question (§ 145). Consequently, man's need 
of adaptation to climate is a very obvious one. Let us first consider 
the effects of climatic conditions on man's bodily organism. Climate 
means, roughly, heat and cold, moisture and dryness, in their different 
combinations (§§ 109 ff.). The effects of heat on the organism are de- 
bilitating but not immediately harmful. By way of experiment, men 
have endured for short periods dry heat of great elevation ; they can- 
not support for any considerable period, however, a temperature above 
that of the blood (98. 6°). The oppressiveness of heat is greatly ac- 
centuated if it is accompanied by moisture ; the condition of the 
endurance of the high temperatures just referred to was that the air 
should be perfectly dry, for with the entrance of moisture the limit of 
endurance sank rapidly. If the bodily temperature of any warm- 
blooded animal is raised for any extent of time (e.g. in fever) a few 
degrees above normal, an organic disturbance takes place which 
results in the rapid breaking down or non-restoration of tissues, and, 
in the long run, in insensibility and death. The direct action of cold 
upon the body is, in some ways, not dissimilar to that of heat ; it re- 
sults in debilitation, first of all, and it, too, is accentuated in its action 
by the presence of humidity in the air. Its immediate effects are 
anaemia and congestions of the vital organs, extreme exposure result- 
ing in gangrene of the extremities from which the blood has been 
forced by contraction of the capillaries. The reduction of bodily 
temperature below normal results in torpor, a slowing-up of vital 
processes, and, finally, in death. 

Dealing as we are in points of view, the designations employed respecting, for 
example, climate will be of the most comprehensive nature. In general, we shall 
distinguish merely the temperate and the tropical, with some reference to the po- 
lar (§§ 122 ff.)- But it will be understood, as a matter of course, that minor climatic 


gradations of all kinds are recognized as determining intermediary forms of human 
adaptation or activity. Furthermore, the reader will not be led to confuse our terms 
respecting climate by taking them to refer simply to districts formally marked off 
by parallels of latitude, e.g. the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Strictly speak- 
ing, our reference would always be to the isothermal lines (§§ iii, 118); but 
because areas included by these can easily be understood under the commoner 
terms " tropical " and " temperate " zones, the latter are deemed to be both com- 
prehensive and, at the same time, sufficiently explicit. 

143. Adaptation to climate. Now there are few places on earth 
where man is called upon to endure a prolonged heat greater than 
that of his body (§§ 1 17-1 19), and, in consequence of this, there are 
practically no districts left unpeopled because of direct effects of heat 
upon the organism. It is different in the case of cold. There are 
very many regions where man, as we know him, could not exist in the 
absence of artificial protection of some sort. It is in all ways proba- 
ble, therefore, that man as an animal is a native of warm regions, and 
has been able to exist in colder climates only by reason of his power 
of artificial adaptation. By this it is not meant to assert that man has 
performed no physical adaptation to climate. In fact, from very early 
times it has been believed that several racial characters, notably color, 
are to be referred directly to climatic conditions. The ancients thought 
that the dark races were " burned black" by the sun ; and it is a very 
significant fact that the equator is bordered, except in America, 1 by 
the dark races of the earth. It is certain that the great activity, among 
inhabitants of tropical lands, of the liver, bowels, and skin, as com- 
pared with the lungs, is a case of adaptation ; it is by some closely con- 
nected with the color of the skin. Similarly, in colder climates, lighter 
color and a superior lung activity are well marked. The fact that in- 
habitants of cold climates are wont to suffer from liver and intestinal 
disease and those of the tropics from lung difficulties, when they ex- 
change environments, throws light upon mutual adaptation and non- 
adaptation. It may be said, broadly speaking, that races are suited to 
their own climates and unsuited to those of a very different type ; that 
is, that races are physically adapted to their natural climatic environ- 

Furthermore, human beings have, like animals, certain instincts 
which represent adjustment to climate ; these lead the natives of the 
tropics, for example, to avoid the extremes of heat by regular cessa- 
tion of exposure and of effort during the hottest hours. They suffer 

1 The absence of such color gradation in America is taken by some as evidence of 
the comparatively recent spread of man to the New World. 


but little from heat stroke and maintain with ease an equilibrium of 
bodily temperature. The whole machinery of life is slowed down by 
these several instincts. In cold climates something similar takes 
place ; the winter is a dormant period of carefully husbanded phys- 
ical strength. In both cases the times of severest extremes of tem- 
perature are largely passed in sleep or in states approaching sleep. 
It can scarcely be said that this is done deliberately or as a result of 
reasoning ; sleep is taken because the condition of the body induces 
drowsiness — we prefer to treat it as the action of an instinct, like 
that of the eel, the tiger, or the bear. The examples which have been 
given, then, are to illustrate man's unconscious, unpremeditated, phys- 
ical adaptation to climate. This, of course, has required many cen- 
turies of time to bring about. 

Several of the preceding considerations demand a word of explanation. 
Though all the details of the matter are not understood, it is believed that many 
of the physical differences between the races of the tropics and those of the tem- 
perate zones take their origin in the relative activity in the two regions of the lungs 
and of the intestines, the latter including the liver, kidneys, and spleen. The scav- 
enging agencies of the body are the lungs, skin, and the organs just mentioned. It 
appears that the moist heat of the tropics operates to throw the burden of excre- 
tion upon the skin and intestines, while the cooler air of a more temperate region 
tends to develop this function in the lungs. The superior activity of the lungs 
seems to be connected with the lighter color of skin, while the truly tropical 
race, the negro, combines with a larger activity of abdominal organs and skin the 
larger amount of pigmentation in the latter. If, now, the white man settles in the 
tropics, his first manifestations of illness are generally located in the abdominal 
region, chiefly in the liver, and are likely to develop into hepatitis, dysentery, or 
similar dangerous forms. On the other hand, men and animals brought from the 
tropics to the cooler regions generally suffer from pulmonary trouble ; to take a 
parallel from the animal world, consumption is usually the cause of the death of 
the larger apes acquired by our zoological gardens. These facts all go to show that 
the human organism has become adapted to its native environment to such an ex- 
tent as to be unable to function properly in one much different. 

It is supposed that the reader is now able to explain to himself the acquisition 
of such adaptation as a result of natural selection (§§ 133-136). But lest the pre- 
disposition to think of man as different from the plant and animal enter to disturb 
the thought, the following indication of the process of acquiring the M instincts " 
mentioned in § 143 is introduced. By variation different individuals and groups 
will develop, say, a stronger or weaker tendency to rest during the heat of the 
day. Those whose organisms are healthily sensitive to external conditions will 
feel the strain placed upon them ; and if they yield to such necessity, they will 
preserve their strength and so prevail, in one way or another, over those who do 
not. The former will hand down the variation they exhibit to greater numbers of 
offspring than will the latter ; it will tend to become fixed by heredity. Selection 
continuing in succeeding generations will, through its process of elimination, 


reduce those presenting unfavorable variations until the whole group or race is char- 
acterized by the instinct to husband bodily energy through seeking darkness and 
rest in the heat of the day. That an instinct of this kind is later rationalized, so 
that it looks like the result of reflection and judgment, is entirely irrelevant to the 
matter of its origin. 

144. Acclimatization. We now come to the question of man's abil- 
ity to make relatively rapid physical adaptations to climate, that is, 
to human acclimatization. Can men, within a relatively short time, 
learn to live under a different climate as the natives of that climate 
live ? It is not, of course, genuine acclimatization when the newcom- 
ers exist only by reason of their power to avoid or neutralize the 
climatic conditions of their adopted home. In its strictest sense ac- 
climatization has taken place only when the immigrant can pursue 
the struggle for existence successfully, and propagate the race, under 
the life conditions of the natives. Englishmen cannot be said to be 
acclimatized in India when they have to be fanned, cooled with iced 
drinks, provided with constant rations of medicine, and when they 
have to retreat periodically to the hills or to the colder zones to re- 
cover their health. With some variation of a historic remark it may 
be said that an Englishman would not be acclimatized in India if (in 
order to be in the temperate zone) he had to live on top of a pillar 
several thousand feet high (cf. § 112). The bulk of evidence inclines 
to prove that there can be no genuine acclimatization of natives of 
cooler regions in the tropics, especially where the air is humid, except 
over long periods of time. Almost all the experiments which we 
have deal with movements from cooler northern to warmer southern 
regions. In these cases the factor of climate has been so controlling 
that northern races have been unable to preserve a continued exist- 
ence and identity in the south, even when aided by all sorts of artifice 
and skill in neutralizing unfavorable conditions. Of movement from 
warmer to cooler regions we have relatively few examples. The only 
important one is afforded by the negroes of the United States ; and . 
even here the whole question is complicated by the crossing of whites 
and blacks. The population of the United States reckoned as colored 
has not increased, however, as fast as the white ; because of the thin- 
ness of population in the United States (thirty-one per square mile), 
it has been subjected to little competition, especially since it tends to 
limit itself to the warmest parts of the country, thus securing the 
isolation from competition (cf. § 134) which enables it to persist. 
No clear case of acclimatization can be made out here. In short, if 
the acclimatization of men be treated as that of plants and animals 


has been, the results must be the same, namely, that such radical 
modification takes many generations to effect. Inasmuch as gener- 
ations of men follow each other at such long intervals, it would nat- 
urally take many hundreds of years to secure effects comparable 
with those produced in a few decades in the case of more rapidly 
maturing organisms. As an organic being, man could presumably 
come to live under any climatic conditions under which the higher 
animals could exist. But that he has accomplished any such accli- 
matization within our knowledge does not appear. Many southward 
migrations have taken place in history, but the migrants do not now 
exist. The impression is of fields of ice melting into the water of the 
warmer seas. 

It scarcely needs to be noted that a large portion of the dangers encountered 
in changing from one type of climate to another are connected with exposure to 
new diseases. This means, in most cases, contact with a new type of organic en- 
vironment — with strange microscopic " fauna " (cf. § § 136, 150). To these the 
immigrant's organism is not used; and whatever native power of resistance it 
may possess is already debilitated by the effects of an unaccustomed climate. 
Where the man and the germ are both acclimatized, they have, as it were, fought 
it out together and sustained such mutual modifications as to render their joint 
presence in the environment possible. This has manifestly taken long generations, 
under the constant activity of natural selection. That another race, unused to all 
these local conditions, should be able to enter and at once successfully to cope 
with them is. in the light of modern science, unthinkable. 

145. "Artificial" acclimatization. Having now arrived at the con- 
clusion that man cannot become genuinely acclimatized within a practi- 
cable period, let us consider in how far he is able, through the ingenuity 
of his mind (§ 1 39), to forestall and neutralize climatic influences — 
to become " artificially" acclimatized. In practice this question means, 
Can the white race under any practical conditions live, breed, and 
work in a tropical climate ? If it can, the " development of the trop- 
ics " and of trade therein is a simple matter ; if not, the whole issue 
becomes complicated and arduous or impossible. There are, unques- 
tionably, cases of protracted sojourn of individuals under the equator ; 
and there are tropical regions in which European colonists have lived 
for generations, for instance, Java. Again, there are districts, like the 
west coast of Africa, where even a short stay constitutes a hazard to 
life. The mortality of the English on the Gold Coast is said to have 
reached six hundred and eighty per thousand. One of the most defi- 
nite evidences of danger in the tropics lies in the extra premiums 
charged by life-insurance companies for sojourners or mere travelers 
in the torrid regions. The premium measures the risk of death and 


is, of course, fixed as the result of a dispassionate statistical investi- 
gation. Popular opinion, derived from long series of, perhaps, for- 
gotten instances, scents danger in the equatorial region ; and it is 
right. In general, it is only through the exercise of the utmost cau- 
tion and through the utilization of every means of artificial assist- 
ance that even a moderate settlement of whites in hot regions is 
possible. The dangers that threaten and the means taken to meet 
tli em may be briefly outlined as follows. 

The change can scarcely be other than a violent one, and the re- 
sults are presently visible in a disarrangement of the bodily equilibrium, 
very favorable for the reception of germs of disease to which the sys- 
tem is not used. The monotony of the unvaried heat (§§ 11 7-1 19) 
works further upon the nervous system, tempting to excesses in gen- 
eral and in particular to the use of stimulants. But all such irregu- 
larities are especially deadly in the tropics ; what is temperance in a 
cooler zone becomes excess in the hotter ; * even the abstemious Span- 
ish and Portuguese were led to limit their consumption of their light 
native wines when they had settled in tropical America. At the very 
least, the energy of the whites is sapped and their life takes on the 
lethargic quality characteristic of hot regions. Again, the fact that these 
conditions bear especially heavily upon the women, who, in general, 
avoid the life of the frontier, leads to a preponderance of the male 
sex among the immigrants, from which results a crossing with native 
stocks and the production of a mixed or mongrel race. Even if this 
race is suited to the climate better than its white parent race, the ques- 
tion of acclimatization is evidently not solved, for the half-breeds might 
be taken to be at least semi-acclimatized at birth. And if white women 
do manage to endure the climate, their fertility is probably impaired ; 
in any case childbirth entails great danger to parent and offspring, 
and the death rate of the children that are born is high. The natural 
increase of whites in the tropics is slight ; natural selection, unham- 
pered and unopposed, would destroy nearly or quite all ; numbers are 
kept up by immigration rather than by births. 

In order artificially to minimize the effects upon health of the vio- 
lent change alluded to, the only practicable course is to adhere strictly 
to such rules as the following : avoidance of excesses of all kinds ; 
regularity of habits, including exercise, bathing, and the like ; the use 
of light-colored clothing, of a quantity and quality sufficient to prevent 
the elevation of bodily temperature or the taking of cold, the latter 

1 Care must of course be taken not to confuse the dangers of the tropical climate 
with those of an irregular mode of life sure to be deleterious anywhere. 


being, strange to say, the great preliminary danger in hot lands ; the 
limitation of dwellings to healthful localities, together with strict atten- 
tion to screening and sanitation ; and so on. It is, besides, necessary, 
especially for women and children, to plan periodic sojourns in cooler 
localities ; to make regular use of febrifuges and other prophylactics 
and medicines ; in short, it is needful, in order to maintain the life 
of the individual and the society, that the latest resources of modern 
science in the limitation of natural selection shall be drawn upon. If 
this is done, the individual and the race may be, to a certain degree 
and in a certain sense, acclimatized. A sojourn of some years may 
be managed at an endurable cost. 

It is not so much the degree of heat that debilitates ; rather is it 
the endless persistence of a temperature often far exceeded by that 
of the temperate-zone summer (cf. §§ 11 7-1 19). Indeed, the first 
feeling of the sojourner in the tropics is not seldom one of pleasur- 
able disappointment, and of delight in the perennial " summer day." 
But further experience wears on the nerves, and the longing for a 
change — for a breath of a" nipping and an eager air " — insinuates 
itself into the very organism of the alien. A few years more and he 
is invalided home to get that for which his body, as it were, cries out. 
In the opinion of one competent surgeon, who has lived much in the 
tropics, seven years represent the central European's limit of endur- 
ance of the equatorial climate, even in an island region and for a 
strong man. Such a man, he adds, must not be corpulent ; and he 
must not be subjected to great strain or deprivation. 1 

But if societies of whites can manage to exist in the tropics, they 
cannot, even with the aids recounted, by themselves pursue success- 
fully the struggle for existence. Labor, especially arduous and con- 
tinuous labor, is inconsistent with both the physical health and the 
mental condition of the white man in the tropics. The vital processes 
will not stand the strain, and the state of the will does not supply the 
energy for strenuous exertion. This is especially the case in regard 
to the occupation by which life must be assured — agriculture. The 
disturbance of tropical soils exposes the laborer to the action of vari- 
ous germs from which he is relatively protected if he refrains from 
labor. But to make anything of the tropics, labor of the most arduous 
variety and in the greatest quantity must be put forth ; for while it may 
not be a necessary condition, it is none the less a historical fact that 
the characteristic tropical products which have been profitable in the 
world market — cotton, sugar, coffee — cannot be raised on the small 

1 Hagen, I'nter den Papua's (Wiesbaden. 1899), p. 20. 


scale. Owing to these conditions, the white race has never been able 
to support itself by its own efforts in the hot countries ; the aid of an 
acclimatized labor force is the only staff upon which it can depend. 
As for the use of machinery, it cannot be profitably employed in small- 
scale production ; while in operations on the large scale the very em- 
ployment of the machines calls for heavy labor. The conclusion seems 
therefore justified, that Europeans, even with the aids of science, are 
unable at present to make themselves at home in the tropics. Natives 
of cooler zones live in the tropics, usually temporarily, as directors or 
superintendents of an inefficient labor supply. It would follow that the 
riches of the tropical lands have never been developed or even utilized 
to any great degree. It is said that the valley of the Magdalena River 
alone could feed fifty millions of people, whereas the population of all 
Colombia is but four millions. 1 

A comparison may bring preceding contentions more clearly to view. The 
great colonies of acclimatized whites are Canada, the United States, part of Mexico, 
Argentina, Chile, southern Brazil and its environs, Cape Colony, Australia, New 
Zealand, southern Siberia ; all these are in the temperate or subtemperate zones. 
The number of whites per square mile in the tropical zone may be judged from 
the following examples assembled almost hit-or-miss (as criteria of comparison 
there might be taken the United States, with some 25 per square mile, and the 
United Kingdom, with some 345): Hawaii, 4.4; Algeria, 4; Brazil, 2; Cochin China, 
.4 ; Ceylon, .38 ; Philippines, .2 ; British Guiana, .18 ; Dutch East Indies, .1 ; Sierra 
Leone, .1 ; Tongking, .08 ; Madagascar, .07 ; British India, .06 ; Eritrea, .04 ; Nica- 
ragua, .025 ; British East Africa Protectorate, .01 ; Southern Nigeria Protectorate, 
.01; Colony of Southern Nigeria, .01; Cambodia, .0 1 ; Togoland, .008 ; German 
East Africa, .006 ; Anam, .005 ; Kamerun, .005 ; Congo Free State, .003 ; French 
Ivory Coast, .0025 ; German New Guinea, .002. 

It may be repeated that these figures do not, in most cases, mean " settlers " ; 
of the 533 whites in the Southern Nigeria Protectorate, for instance, 199 were 
officials and the other 334, merchants and missionaries. Again it must be realized 
that there are a number of the tropical colonies where it is either impossible or 
not worth while to " catch and count " the few wandering adventurers of Euro- 
pean stock. It has been impossible to find out the functions of the men who 
constitute this slight European population, but it is certain that the majority are 
officers, agents, missionaries, or the like. There are very few European families.' 2 
Yet to make this comparison fair, it must be realized that the chances for adven- 
ture and gain were much greater in the tropics, especially at the outset of the 
Discoveries Period, and that consequently a larger initial immigration was attracted 
to tropical colonies, thus giving them the start over their later rivals. 

146. Climate and civilization. If it is true that man has been 
for an indefinite period chained to his general type of climatic envi- 
ronment, — hot, cold, or temperate, — then, neglecting his physical 

1 Ratzel, Anth., II, 266. 

2 The above figures are based upon those of the Statesman's Year-Book for 1907. 


adaptations, of which we have briefly spoken, let us consider the effects 
of these three general types of climate upon the development of civi- 
lization, that is, of the apparatus of artificial adaptation. This really 
means, as we have seen (§§ 139, 140) the effects upon the develop- 
ment of mind and mental reactions. The first general fact with which 
we are confronted is that no great civilization has ever taken origin 
within the torrid regions of the earth. The seats of ancient culture — 
the valleys of the Chinese rivers, of the Euphrates and Tigris, of the 
Nile — are all within the temperate or subtemperate zone. 1 The Aztecs 
and Peruvians, the two most advanced peoples of the Americas, occu- 
pied highlands where altitude tempered latitude. It is true that India 
boasts an ancient civilization in a region at least partly tropical, but it 
was not self-sufficient or self -propagating ; the vigor which it displayed 
was lent to it by periodic reenforcement of fresh blood and vitality 
from the cooler regions. The same thing may be asserted regarding 
those other seats of ancient civilization just mentioned, even when 
they lay farther from the equator ; the development of civilization 
generally took place in the warmer parts of the temperate zone, but 
those who developed it came for the most part from the north. This 
was so at the outset, and the situation has not changed through his- 
tory. In our own day the nations of the temperate regions of the 
earth still represent civilization, while the hot or cold zones form a 
field of activity for the overflow of their energy. In the north tem- 
perate zone are Europe, southern Siberia, China and Japan, Canada, 
the United States, and the center of activity of Mexico ; in the south 
temperate, southern Brazil, parts of Peru, Argentina and Chile, Cape 
Colony, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It is significant that 
the movement for independence of the Spanish American states 
grew to strength in Argentina, and that for Brazilian independence 
in the southern region of Sao Paulo ; in these cooler districts lay 
the numbers and the energy. 2 

147. Extra-temperate conditions. These striking and significant 
considerations certainly have a physical explanation behind them. 
It would be hazardous, of course, to refer them to any single cause, 
such as the difference of temperature. But taking together the influ- 
ences of climate and the complex of physical factors which vary with 

1 M For the earliest development of civilization . . . the warmer climate — as the 
one making less demand — has wielded a more favorable influence" (Ratzel, Anth., 
I 332). 

2 Keller, Colonization, pp. 159 ft ., 321 ff. "Even in densely populated India and 
China the largest areas of density lie, in the one case, north of the tropic, and, in the 
other, of the parallel of 30 north latitude " (Ratzel, Anth., II, 267). 


climate, — abundance of vegetal and animal life, etc., — we may distin- 
guish marked effects upon the numbers and character of races referable 
to residence within cold, hot, or temperate regions (cf. §§ 122 ff.). In 
the colder regions the struggle for existence presses constantly upon 
the individual and the society ; the most strenuous of activity yields 
little more than enough to satisfy immediate needs. The winning of 
subsistence demands almost the total of bodily energy. The astonish- 
ing cleverness of invention to which men are driven enables them to 
continue to live rather than to rise to a higher plane of comfort ; little 
energy is freed for what we call higher activities, i.e. more perfect 
and successful adaptation. Numbers are restricted by the possibilities 
of the region, the death rate being high and the birth rate low ; any 
extensive disturbance in the food-yield of the environment results in 
great mortality ; the polar peoples live on the edge of things and are 
readily pushed over the brink. Their numbers being small and scat- 
tered, — the total Eskimo population of North America is estimated 
at about 25,000, and they live in segregated groups of at most a few 
families, — the development of culture through the contact and reac- 
tions of individuals and groups is impossible. 

The importance for the growth of civilization of numbers and their 
contact will be taken into account in a later chapter (§§ 166, 173) ; 
but it is to be noted that for the polar and some subpolar regions 
the sparsity of population, rendered inevitable by climatic conditions, 
precludes all serious advance of culture. The following estimates are 
made of the density of population per square mile under such condi- 
tions : Hyperboreans (of northern Asia), 2-25; Kamtchadales and 
western Eskimo, less than 1 ; Indians in the United States (1825), 
0.57 (Peschel) ; Eskimo of Greenland and Labrador, 0.24 and 0.3 
respectively ; Aleuts, 0.3-1 ; natives of Alaska, 0.5 ; Reindeer Chuk- 
chi, 0.4 ; Patagonians, less than 0.1. In addition it may be said that 
north of the wheat zone there are very seldom over 40 to the square 
mile, beyond the barley zone almost never over 2, even in Europe. 1 

In the hot lands, on the other hand, the struggle for existence is 
often the opposite of arduous. The luxuriance of nature is such that 
the indolence engendered by the elevation of temperature is fostered 
rather than assailed by the vicissitudes of life. In several tropical 
lands, under natural conditions, twenty-seven breadfruit trees, cover- 
ing an acre, are said to suffice, at the expense of a few days' labor, to 
support a family of ten or twelve for the eight months of bearing. A 
great deal of fruit can be had simply for the gathering, and when one 

1 Ratzel, Anth., II, 256 ff., 205. 


kind is giving out another is attaining maturity. In ancient times the 
date palm is said already to have had 360 uses (Strabo). It would not 
be difficult to collect many instances of the easy life of the tropics ; 
most accounts of travel in these regions teem with them. Captain 
Cook reported that a Polynesian who had in his lifetime planted only 
ten breadfruit trees had done his duty to his own and the next gener- 
ation as fully and richly as some farmer in a colder climate who had 
plowed and harvested in raw and inclement weather his whole life 
through, and finally saved a meager sum for his children. The change- 
lessness of the seasons relieves man from the taking of thought for the 
morrow ; he lives the life of the day and develops but a rudimentary 
foresight. Breadfruit introduced from the Pacific is said to have car- 
ried the Caribs back to savagery (cf. §§ 175 ff.). Other natural needs 
than those of food, e.g. clothing, are few and easily satisfied. The 
spur of necessity is absent ; as life is, as it were, too hard in the cold 
regions, so it is too easy in the hot. That in nature which really calls 
civilization into being and then secures its advance is not the prodi- 
gality of gifts offered to man, but the incitement to effort of which he 
is the (often resisting) object. 

148. Temperate conditions. Between these two extremes a kind 
of life is lived where effort and reward are more equitably adjusted 
(cf. §§ 1 16 ff.). In the temperate zone, life is scarcely possible without 
sustained effort ; but the rewards of labor are generous, returning not 
only subsistence but a surplus. 1 Effort is not harmful to health ; in fact, 
the well-being of the body calls for it. Temperature and light condi- 
tions are favorable to industry. The length of the working day is at 
a maximum ; it is said, for example, that " the climate of the British 
Isles enables men to work in the open air for more hours a day 
throughout the whole year than in any other part of the world." The 
changefulness of the seasons demands facility of physical adaptation, 
a mobility of the organism, and also a development of economy and 
foresight to provide against times of scarcity. The contest with nature 
is enlivened by the elation of well-planned and well- won success. 2 
Numbers increase rapidly and, in contrast with the generally sluggish 
inertia of hot countries, societies move about, mingle, and naturally 
give and receive the civilization that each possesses. From this 

1 It has been said, with the exaggeration natural to such condensation of state- 
ment, that in the cold regions man gets nothing for something, in the tropics, some- 
thing for nothing, and in the temperate areas, something for something. 

2 This influence of climate on disposition should never be ignored ; it is shown by 
too many peoples in forms too nearly parallel to allow of an absence of causal con- 
nection. See Ratzel, Anth., I, 314. 


results a progressively increasing power of intellectual adaptation to 
allied varieties of shifting conditions ; that is, an ever-augmenting 
knowledge of and power over nature. Such faculties and masteries 
develop even more irresistibly with increasing exercise ; civilization 
grows by feeding upon itself ; and presently there exists between the 
progressive groups of the temperate regions and the hampered ones 
of the regions of extreme cold or heat an impassable gulf, a sharp 
distinction, a relation of superior and inferior. 

Nearly 98 per cent of the world's population live between the isothermals of 
4. 5 and 21 C, and almost 75 per cent between those of 7 and 15 . The 
greatest density is found in regions where the temperature in the warmest month 
is between 21 and 27 . Nearly all the great cities lie in this belt. 1 

Enough has perhaps been said to establish the general proposition 
that human societies can be distinguished on the basis of the climate 
of their stations. Although this is a very broad distinction, it will be 
found to be of practical value for our subject ; and it can be applied 
to relatively local cases when properly limited by reckoning in other 
and more special factors of environment. 

1 Ratzel, Anth., II, 206. 




149. Importance of the organic environment. The next factor of 
environment which deserves especial treatment as of extraordinary 
importance to the life of man is the organic life of a lower grade — 
the kind of flora and fauna, the quality of plant and animal life — by 
which man is surrounded, with which he has to contend, or upon 
which he is able to prey. 

This factor, as has been seen (§§ 133 ff., 144), is very closely connected with 
climate ; for instance, the long and continuous solar heat has a very marked effect 
upon the quality of grain, so that fine wheat is raised at 6o° N. in western Canada, 
and the same cereal can be ripened in Siberia in as little time as in the Nile valley. 
Furthermore, other natural factors, like rainfall (§ 120) and ocean currents (§ 19), 
influence the distribution of flora and fauna ; and there enters, directly as respects 
flora, and indirectly as respects fauna, the controlling condition of soil (§§ 69 ff., 
78). Naturally this latter influence is indirect in its impact upon the man-animal, 
and consequently can receive little mention in the present section of this book ; 
but that it remains a powerful factor, though, as it were, behind the scenes, must 
not be lost to view. 

The character of the flora and fauna of his habitat can seldom be 
regarded as a matter of indifference to man. The whole of physical 
nature is so bound up together that whether the bonds of relation- 
ship are open and obvious, or hidden and subtle, there are yet but 
few parts of the whole that are not sensitive to the fate or form or 
movements of other parts. In the case of man his plant and animal 
environment is often determinative of his existence and its vicissi- 
tudes ; the humbler forms of life may be man's ineradicable enemies, 
his prey, or his friends ; they are seldom neutral and must always be 
reckoned with in a greater or less degree. 

150. Man's enemies. For example, let us take the influence of 
the flora of a country upon its human inhabitants. Naturally enough 
plants can scarcely be hostile to men in the way in which active, mov- 
ing beings could. However, there are cases which approximate to 
direct competition ; for instance, the exuberance of tropical vegetation 
is such that it is constantly encroaching upon artificial clearings and 



can be held at bay only by constant effort ; practical experience with 
this phenomenon has been gained by those who are digging the 
Panama Canal. Life in deep forests is passed in a sort of gloom, 
for the thickly interlacing branches of trees and the strands of creep- 
ers practically monopolize the sunlight to the detriment of terrestrial 
beings. The impenetrable " scrub" of Australia occupies the surface 
of the earth to man's almost total exclusion. No human races of any 
importance live in areas of such competition. It might also be said 
that poisonous vegetation is hostile to man ; on the whole, however, 
there is no significant and well-recognized danger from plant sources. 
But in the case of fauna the relationship of hostility is, especially at the 
outset, strikingly marked. In fact, if we can realize the condition of 
man before the invention of tools and weapons, we can see that he 
was, like other animals, through his very struggle for life, at swords' 
points with his fellows (§ 134). In much later times he is still in 
relations of hostility with many groups of animals. The presence of 
large carnivores is in some places a constant danger ; in India, in 
1904, though the records are not full, some 25,000 human beings 
and 100,000 cattle were reported killed by wild beasts. In Russia, in 
1875, wolves are reported to have killed 160 persons and to have de- 
stroyed animals (cattle, sheep, dogs, etc.) to the number of over 1,340- 
000. The cost of their depredations, not counting the game which 
they killed, is estimated at $24,000,000 per annum for the Empire. 1 
Venomous creatures of all kinds — scorpions, serpents, insects, and so 
on — exist in many lands as hostile elements that cannot be tamed. 
Of the above-mentioned deaths in India about 22,000 persons per- 
ished by snake bite, and the remainder were prey of panthers, tigers, 
etc. ; of the cattle about 86,000 were killed : by panthers, 40,000 ; 
by tigers, 30,000 ; by snakes, 16,000. The sting of the tsetse fly has 
proved fatal to cattle in central Africa, and an allied insect is now 
thought to be the cause of the " sleeping sickness " found among the 
negroes of the same region, but hitherto unexplained. 

Consider for a moment the wide-reaching effects upon man produced by the 
presence of this small gray fly in the environment. Aside from any direct effect 
upon human health, this influence has meant the retardation of native progress, 
inasmuch as the use of the best domestic animals has been impossible ; thus a 
well-marked stage of advance in the industrial organization, with all that that 
meant for the development of more effective social structure, has been unattain- 
able. The more recent embarrassments in the building of railroads and the like 
in the absence of beasts of burden and draught are self-evident. Unquestionably, 
the presence of this insect, rendering impossible the use of draught animals, has 

1 Bourdeau, Monde Animal, p. 115. 


kept men in the status of beasts of burden, that is, it has called for the persist- 
ence of slavery. The Boers, depending upon draught cattle, could not penetrate 
northward beyond the twentieth degree of latitude ; and it is now proposed, in 
the hopelessness of the task of exterminating the fly, to remove all the surviving 
negro population of the most infested districts. 

Further, parasitic flora and fauna may infest the body, causing 
irritation, sickness, and death ; thus, if we descend to the microorgan- 
isms, the living germs of disease, the menace to human life in cer- 
tain localities (§ 1 44) becomes definitely apparent ; fear of the larger 
enemies is often exaggerated, but that of the minute ones is seldom 
proportionate to the menace which their presence signifies. On the 
west coast of Africa even the natives have malaria ; yellow fever in- 
fests the tropical Atlantic coasts ; the plague, leprosy, beriberi, and 
other diseases decimate the inhabitants of this or that area. The 
scourge of the world is tuberculosis ; in this country the deaths from 
the disease average nearly 20 per hour. Yellow fever in the past 1 1 5 
years has caused fewer deaths in the United States than did tubercu- 
losis in the year 1907 ; from 1903 to 1907 this disease " caused more 
than three times as many deaths in this country as occurred in action 
and from wounds received in action during the entire Civil War." 1 
The influence of the presence of microorganisms is in many cases de- 
terminative of the life of man and society ; and since in a general way 
the habitat of these enemies is determined by climatic conditions, their 
activity is really added to that of the climatic factors already noted. 

It would be possible to introduce at this point a considerable amount of matter 
that goes under the name " geography of disease," or some similar term. In any- 
work dealing with man's relation to his environment, and having no special activity 
of man in view, it would scarcely be permissible to curtail such a topic. For the pres- 
ent purpose, however, we shall devote no further direct attention to the matter ; 
for however important to man's life in general the distribution of the microorgan- 
isms may be, as a factor in the life of his trade it can so easily be included in 
the treatment of the climatic factor and others, — and has been so included, at least 
by implication, in foregoing and subsequent paragraphs, — that it seems unneces- 
sary to assign it a special space. This is one of the topics which may well be 
left to the teacher. The superposition of the ordinary trade areas and routes upon 
a chart showing the several important disease areas will tell its own story (cf. fig. 
21). The grandest processes, of course, in which disease geography bears a con- 
spicuous part, and one directly effective upon commercial development, are those 
treated above, under the topic of acclimatization (§ 144). 

1 The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York has recently (1909) 
issued a pamphlet for the use of its policy holders, entitled A War upon Consump- 
tion. It contains graphic illustrations and striking facts. That insurance companies 
are trying to lower the mortality of their risks through such educative measures is 


151. Man's prey. Man is not exposed in helplessness, however, 
to the inroads of such competition. It is probable that races have in 
the course of time acquired a certain immunity — which amounts to 
a race character — from disease localized in their habitats. This is 
due, of course, to natural selection (§ 135). To Europeans measles, 
influenza, and even scarlatina and phthisis have lost their terrors in 
comparison with, say, tropical fevers ; they are to a certain degree in- 
oculated against the former because of the long experience of their 
ancestors with them ; the negro, on the other hand, is practically im- 
mune from yellow fever, but is susceptible to diseases of the lungs. 
Civilized peoples in general, aside from their control of medicines, 
are proof against more diseases (which are largely a product of the 
very concentration of population which fathered civilization) than are 
natives. Colds, influenza, and measles carried the American Indians 
off by thousands ; phthisis destroyed whole groups of Polynesian 
islanders. The whites possess greater resistive power against disease 
because, as a race, they have suffered from it longer and have been 
modified toward resistance. There is, therefore, such a thing as an 
inherited immunity from the attacks of the virulent microorganisms. 

But man is not content with such slow-working natural means ; he 
turns into the struggle his power of intellectual adaptation (§ 1 39), 
and not infrequently emerges as victor, where without his power of 
reason and invention he could not have prevailed. It is hardly nec- 
essary to refer to such action in respect to the plant world. The clear- 
ing of the forest through burning and cutting, the extirpation of such 
vegetable life as interferes with man's purposes, is pursued, within 
certain limits, with absolute success (cf. §§ 83, 156). The same kind 
of irresistible attack is made upon animal life, which, under conditions 
prevailing in nature, would compete disastrously with the human race. 
For example, man is physically inferior to the panther : weaker, slower 
of movement, duller of sight and scent, with paw less heavy and claws 
less sharp and rigid, he enters the lists without hope except for his 
intellect. By the aid of the latter, however, he has made him a stone 
or metal ax. His reach is now longer, his blow stronger, his artificial 
fist harder, his stone claws as sharp and more unyielding than those 
of his adversary. He prevails in the struggle ; and, as the fitter, he 
survives. When he has attained to the express rifle, the contest is 
decided once for all ; wild beasts that were a terror to early man are 
constantly yielding ground as the prey of modern firearms ; ! whole 

iln India in 1904 there were killed 1285 tigers, 4370 panthers and leopards, 
2000 bears, and 2086 wolves. Of the serpents, the greatest scourge, relatively few 


sections of civilized countries are without dangerous wild animals or 
reptiles. And the war carried on against these larger fauna is not to 
be compared in strenuousness with that directed against the germs 
of disease. The development of the medical and sanitary arts repre- 
sents in good part the systematic character of this pursuit (§ 96). The 
germs of disease are ferreted out, experimented upon, and actually 
bred and altered ; antidotes and antitoxins are developed which will 
kill them or alter an environment for their disadvantage. Through 
vaccination smallpox is rendered relatively harmless, and fevers are 
met with strong febrifuges. By drainage or the use of films of oil on 
ponds and marshes the germs of malaria, together with their trans- 
porter, the mosquito (anopheles), are swept in a body out of the local 
environment. It should not be forgotten, moreover, that man is con- 
stantly waging war against disease in behalf of his domesticated 
animals. In all these cases and many more which will occur to the 
reader, man, by his special power of intellectual adaptation to situa- 
tions, renders many varieties of flora and fauna his prey. 

152. Man's food supply. But man can do more than this. As an 
animal he supplies the waste of his body almost wholly from the plant 
and animal world. Hence, to get food he wages an offensive as well 
as a defensive warfare on nature ; and he has even carried on a can- 
nibalistic strife, it must be added, with his fellow-man. Hunting, in 
a general sense, was the occupation which yielded to our remote an- 
cestors the whole of their sustenance ; wherever possible, vanquished 
competitors, plant, animal, and man, have been turned to food. To 
gain the upper hand not only the force of dangerous animals but 
likewise the wile of the weak has been rendered of less avail by the 
mental activity of the man-animal that had " brains" ; weapons, traps, 
hunting and fishing devices — all were artificial means of neutral- 
izing the advantages of power, swiftness, cleverness, and the like on 
the part of animals, or of taking advantage of their stupidity, curi- 
osity, special instincts, or other characteristics. The driving force 
behind all these activities of offense is hunger, this term being taken 
to cover all kinds of physical need whose satisfaction means main- 
tenance of vitality. 

The character of the food thus derived by man from nature has 
exercised a very important influence upon his life ; the flora and fauna 

were killed. The cobra, which is alone responsible for some 20,000 deaths yearly, is 
sacred and the natives will not harm it. A similar superstition protects crocodiles, 
sharks, etc., in several localities. However, it is reported that there were destroyed 
in India in 1881 and 1882 no less than 575,000 serpents, and in 1906, 762,221. Cf. 
W. G. Fitzgerald, in the Technical World Magazine for May, 1907, pp. 311 ff. 


of his environment, together with certain mineral and other elements, 
have come ultimately to constitute his own body. Different combina- 
tions of these elements have met in differing degree the demands 
of the human organism. What these demands are, and in how far 
various foods suffice to supply them, we shall presently endeavor 
to show. 

The body of man, as of the lower organisms, is to be conceived of as a great 
mass of living cells, which die and are replaced during every hour of life. Every 
action and thought, voluntary and involuntary, is realized at the expense of the 
death and removal of a part of the bodily tissue. Non-replacement of such losses 
would mean speedy dissolution. But the replacement comes through the nutritive 
substances introduced into the body. Hence, in a certain sense, a man is what he 
eats. The getting of food must thus be the first and most necessary activity of 
any organism, and the animal is driven to this activity by one of the most ele- 
mental passions, the sensation of hunger, which impels to the repairing of the 
waste whose existence calls it forth. Thus the prime interest, the conditio si;ie 
qua non, of man's as of the animal's life is the appropriation out of nature of 
what will restore his body and its forces. This fact is perfectly self-evident, yet, 
in some of its bearings at least, is often lost sight of. Further, the scope and 
variety of bodily activity must bear relation to the quantity and quality of food 
used in restoration of waste. Only the dormant animal can go without food ; and 
where the winter food supply is meager we find even human life approaching 
that of the eel and bear. Those peoples, on the other hand, whose food is suf- 
ficient in quantity and quality exhibit the most varied and productive phases of 
human activity. 

153. Food and climate. The chemical elements necessary to repair 
the constant waste of the body are, in general, proteids (the typical 
constituent of lean meat, albumen, etc.), carbohydrates (found in fresh 
green vegetables), and fats. It is almost a commonplace fact that food 
varies with climate : in the arctic region, where heat is at a premium 
of importance, the diet is almost exclusively meat and fat ; blubber is 
devoured in great quantities, and the ravenous eating of tallow candles 
and even soap by Eskimo children is well attested. Again, the food of 
the tropics is largely vegetal : manioc, bananas, sago, yams, etc. In 
the temperate zone the diet is mixed, but has always included a large 
amount of proteid in the form of meat, excepting where conditions of 
poverty in a well-occupied country forbade. Naturally, as has been 
said, the food will be, in the last analysis, what the flora and fauna 
provide ; but the above tendencies toward preference are strongly 
marked. It is a fact, of course, that in several areas of teeming popu- 
lation, especially toward the south, vegetal food supplies up to 99 per 
cent of the entire nourishment. Millet in Africa, rice in Asia, bread- 
fruit, sago, dates, etc., are the great local pikes de resistance. And 


specialization in the case of rice, at least, goes so far that rice-eaters 
either reject, or have been found not to thrive upon an unaccustomed 
even though vegetal, diet ; those colonies which employed coolie labor 
were obliged to import rice to feed the coolies. The heavy population 
of such vegetarian areas tends so to weight the general average as to 
lend strength to the view that man is naturally a vegetarian — a con- 
viction which is not fortified by the results of the study of morphol- 
ogy. It should be added that the body requires certain amounts of 
inorganic substances, as, for instance, lime and salt. Ethnography and 
legend afford us but few instances of peoples that did not use salt ; 
and where it was not used it is either certain or highly probable that 
less satisfactory substitutes were employed. Together with reindeer, 
horses, and other animals, man seems to have a very pronounced 
taste for salt ; indeed, in some parts of the earth it has become, 
as a prized and universally acceptable article, the local medium of 

154. Stimulants and narcotics. While dealing with the subject of 
food, it is not irrelevant to attach some remarks upon the nature of 
several substances which are introduced into the body less for nutri- 
ment than for the sake of the sensations provoked. These are called 
stimulants or narcotics according as the nerve response (which is the 
thing desired) is quickened or temporarily deadened by them. The 
stimulation and the deadening are but complementary phases of 
the same activity of the agency in question. The simplest stimulants 
are the spices, — which are often no more than excitants of bodily secre- 
tions, serving thus to render a monotonous diet more appetizing, — and 
the most famous spice in the history of trade is pepper. It was extraor- 
dinarily popular in Europe in the Middle Ages for the reason just cited. 
The stronger stimulants are those which, in large quantities, would 
produce death ; each of these contains some essential principle which 
is, in isolation, a poison. Such a principle is the alcohol in all fer- 
mented liquors, the cocaine of the coca-leai, the caffeine and theine of 
coffee and tea, the nicotine of tobacco. So welcome to primitive man 
has been the effect of these, that in all parts of the world where grain 
and fruits which contain starch or sugar (i.e. which would ferment) 
have grown, alcoholic drinks corresponding to the local product have 
been discovered : beer and barley ; wine and the grape, or banana, or 
palm ; saki and rice ; rum and" sugar-cane ; pulque and the maguey, — 
such intoxicating beverages have gone with such flora. Naturally, 
then, the stimulant varies with the climate via the plant : the betel is 
local in the East Indies ; opium was similarly restricted prior to the 


development of transportation, and the Eskimo is perforce temperate 
until the white man comes. The greater the success of the distilling 
process the stronger may be the stimulant ; hence, although the civilized 
races did not introduce the uncivilized to this form of nerve titillation, 
they did provide as a substitute for the native drink, weak in content of 
alcohol, a devouring substance aptly termed "fire water." Alcoholism 
is one of the diseases of civilization ; the " natives " have fallen before 
it as they fell before smallpox and consumption. While the native 
stimulant was not seldom a prophylactic or medicine (e.g. the betel 
nut), the impure articles purveyed by the frontier traders were too 
often outright poison. For increasing quantities of such stimulant the 
nerves, awaking from torpor to feverish action, unceasingly call. Even 
in the case of the milder articles like tobacco (§ 232), the demand is 
ever on the increase ; hence the tremendous importance of this class of 
plant products to man and, of course, to trade. The fact that several 
of the historically most important of the above products were by nature 
so capriciously and strictly localized (e.g. cloves in the Moluccas) has 
lent a peculiar character to trade in them (cf. § 197). 

155. Fuel, clothing, and shelter. Requisition may be made upon 
nature not only for food to repair the waste of the body, but for that 
which will, by affording protection from the elements, minimize this 
waste ; looked at in one sense, fuel and clothing replace food by econ- 
omizing the expenditure of bodily heat. The Indians' theory of the 
coming of the European was that wood had given out in the white 
man's country, and he was moving on after a better supply. That 
the need for and the character of fuel vary in different regions is well 
known. Clothing is in good part a matter of climate and varies from 
the thick furs of the arctic to the thin and scanty fabrics of the tropics ; 
from the garment of the cold zones, fitted tightly to the body, to the 
loose and flowing draperies of the warm countries, which are less 
"clothes" than "cloths." Clothing, of course, varies also with the 
animal and vegetal stuffs available for the purpose : in the cold re- 
gions only animal products are at hand ; in the Pacific islands the 
natives have used the inner bark of the palm (§ 229) to make fabrics 
(tapa cloth) ; in Peru, the hair of the alpaca ; elsewhere, grass, paper, 
the fleece or wool of sheep, and so on. Many and curious instances 
could be multiplied. A further protection for the body is the dwelling, 
which discharges the function of clothes, on the larger scale. The 
same dependence upon flora and fauna appears. Building materials 
vary and the local form determines the type of house : bamboo is util- 
ized wherever it grows ; palm leaves, reeds, or grasses furnish thatch ; 


dwellings are made of leather and felt where cattle are raised ; and 
to these may be added — though they do not come under the topic 
of flora and fauna — snow and ice in the polar regions, adobe in the 
deserts, and stone 1 in many places. The presence of weathered or 
eroded rock, forming caves, which need little or no alteration in order 
to become inhabitable, has determined the type of dwelling in many 
localities. It is plain that, apart from the last few examples, introduced 
here for the sake of convenience, the type of clothing and dwellings 
varies with the nature of the local flora and fauna, as well as with the 
climate which conditions the life of both animal and man. 

It might be pointed out as a further but perhaps less obvious influence of en- 
vironment, that the whole plan of the dwelling in warm climates differs from that 
of colder regions. Contrast the early Greek style of house, as preserved in the 
temples, etc., with that of, say, Scandinavia. The former is open, pillared, window- 
less ; the latter closed against the weather, chimneyed, with windows, packed with 
smaller compartments, and so on. Like northern clothes, as against southern 
" cloths," it " fits tight." Gradually such differences became a matter of pride and 
distinction, so that the Greeks regarded as barbarians those tribes that ate butter 
instead of olive oil, drank beer instead of wine, wore breeches instead of flowing 
robes, and so on. Depreciation of other peoples because of their characteristic 
ways, habits, etc., derivable from adaptation to their stations, is a rather constant 
phenomenon up to and including the present day. 

156. Miscellaneous instances. The vital importance of the plant 
and animal environment should now be clear. And it would not be 
difficult to assemble a number of cases where the presence or absence 
of certain forms of flora or fauna, generally, of course, in conjunction 
with other factors, has determined the whole history of a society. The 
Northwest Indians of Canada, it is said, used cedar for everything ; 
the Arabs built their lives on the date palm. Take, for example, the 
presence of wood suitable for the building of ships, as a factor in the 
production of a maritime power (§ 194) ; that of spices in the Moluccas, 
leading to their ruthless exploitation ; the " curse of rubber " in central 
Africa. When iron ore was smelted solely by the use of charcoal, 
Sweden's forests made her one of the chief iron-producing nations. 
The growth of the science of forestry (§231) is an indication of a 
tardy realization of the importance of this flora. 

Deforestation represents a case of success in the struggle of man against nature 
too great for man's own good ; he demonstrates his power to the exclusion of his 
foresight (§§ 80, 83). By such actions "there is always removed from between 

1 It may be noted, as a local instance of the conformity of dwelling to environment, 
that stone buildings have had to he avoided in regions of earthquake, for instance, 
in the Philippines. 


him and the destructive nature-forces an important intermediary f actor.' ' l He sac- 
rifices the weal of future generations to the accomplishment of shortsighted pur- 
poses ; he destroys the value of the soil and of the rivers, causing the latter to carry 
their water not in a steady stream but in destructive floods (§ 231). Thus defor- 
estation and growth of civilization have gone together, though the former is bound 
ultimately to injure the latter. The older culture-lands are regularly poorer in for- 
ests ; several years ago Europe was 18 per cent forest land, but this was divided 
in the following significant ratios: England, 4, Germany, 26, Russia, 37, Sweden, 
39 per cent. North America, and especially the United States, have suffered rapid 
deforestation ; even before 1 880 the rate was 2 to 3 per cent yearly in Ohio. The 
New England states have suffered in the loss of their forests (§ 230) ; even Maine 
is less than 45 per cent forested. 2 

A similar importance may be assigned to fauna. The Indians of 
the prairies lived and passed away with the game (chiefly bison) upon 
which they preyed. The introduction of the horse molded their whole 
type of life. The seal and other aquatic booty render the existence of 
man possible in arctic America, the reindeer in northern Asia. With 
the decline of traditional food supply, the Eskimo of Alaska are being 
rescued by the introduction of the Siberian reindeer. Still another 
curse, that of ivory, has rested long on equatorial Asia. Instances 
might be multiplied to demonstrate the great influence upon man's 
life of the plants and animals among which he lives. 

This fact of the intimate relation of man to the lower organic life is a common- 
place to primitive peoples, for they are constantly obliged to recognize it in their 
daily life. Their attitude toward the animals, naturally enough, is one of respect, as 
for redoubtable rivals in the struggle for existence. Not infrequently they imitate 
these competitors and even conceive themselves to be derived from animal ances- 
try. This is to them a matter of pride. Such a sense of solidarity with the rest of 
creation has been lost by civilized man, or the relationship (as in the case of the 
microorganisms) has come to be looked at from a totally different point of view. 
Ethnographical writings are loaded with instances of the recognized close relations 
of men and animals. The ones given in foregoing connections are selected more 
or less at random but as bearing ultimately upon trade. It v/ould be a profitable 
labor to incite the student to collect other instances from books of travel and of 
description of the life of savage tribes. 

157. Domestication and breeding. Man is not limited, however, to 
merely defensive and offensive operations against flora and fauna. He 
is able to seize upon certain hitherto hostile or neutral elements of 
opposing nature, drag them, as it were, across the battle line, and 
actually force them to fight, as friends and helpers, upon his side in 
the struggle for existence. That is, he may domesticate both plants 
and animals ; fashion them toward his purposes as affording supplies 

1 Ratzel, Anth., II, 248. 2 Ibid., pp. 123 ff. 


of food or clothing ; or even, in the case of animals, cause them to 
put forth physical energy in the realization of his own purposes. This 
topic deserves considerable attention, for it illustrates with especial 
force man's peculiar capacity over other animals in adaptation to situ- 
ations. Certain other creatures, notably the ants, display an instinct 
which leads them to dominate or even domesticate fellow-insects ; but 
man is alone in the rational practice of breeding subjected animals 
in confinement. 

To illustrate the aid and comfort afforded to man by domesticated 
animals is scarcely necessary ; each lends to man's purposes his spe- 
cial superiorities of strength, speed, sharpness of the senses, and the 
like, besides providing him with food and clothing. It is probable 
that most domesticated animals were originally designed for food, but 
later man appropriated their other qualities. If a huntsman has a 
good dog he has practically appropriated his speed, sense of smell, etc., 
and need not develop these qualities for himself. The most anciently 
domesticated or most closely attached develop under selection the very 
instinct of service, together with acquired skill in performing it ; the 
dog is the best example of this class. 

But the extent of man's utilization of flora and fauna, as the last 
example indicates, is much wider than mere appropriation ; he does not 
stop with the forms given him in nature, but proceeds to modify these 
in the direction of his own needs or desires. When his domestic 
plants or animals began to propagate, it did not take man long to per- 
ceive the action of heredity (§ 135), nor to conceive the possibility 
of controlling, by careful mating, the character of the offspring. By 
selecting the forms which appealed to him, and breeding from them 
alone, he managed gradually to " improve " his domesticated flora and 
fauna ; this process, going on through ages, has resulted in the produc- 
tion of plant and animal forms much more satisfactorily adapted to 
the wishes and purposes of man than are those occurring in nature 
(cf. §§ 214, 236). The kernels of grains have been increased in size 
over those of the grasses from which they came ; vegetables have been 
similarly modified and rendered more palatable ; fruits have been se- 
lected for size, color and flavor, presence or absence of seeds, and so 
on. The labors of Luther Burbank along these lines, and his results, 
if correctly reported, constitute probably the most striking example of 
plant breeding in history. A progressive bureau of the United States 
Agricultural Department has accomplished marvels along similar lines 
(cf. § 214). There are ways of turning the development of plants in 
this or that direction, i.e. by modifying environmental conditions and 


selecting for size of root, quality of seed or fiber, and so on. Flax in 
the United States is raised largely for the seed, because American 
producers are not willing to put forth the intensive labor necessary to 
produce a fine fiber (§ 228). In short, the vegetable products of modern 
commerce are in very large part the direct results of the domestication 
of relatively useless flora, and of the modifications produced by long 
ages of artificial selection. This may, of course, be carried to extremes 
by the preservation of monstrous forms, and by sacrificing a certain 
balance of valuable qualities in favor of the one or two which appeal, 
it may be, to the fancy only ; such are the " freak " productions of 
agricultural fairs. 

158. Selection and improvement. The effects of selection are rather 
better known in the case of animals. It has been said of sheep breed- 
ers : " It would seem as if they had chalked out upon a wall a form 
perfect in itself, and then had given it existence." Thus a sheep is 
bred for size of body or for quality of wool, according as it is to fur- 
nish man with mutton or with clothing. The horse is bred for mas- 
siveness and strength, or for speed ; or it may be bred for peculiarities 
of marking or for smallness of size. Cattle may be bred for meat or 
for leather, for milk-giving qualities, for short or long horns, and so 
on (§ 236). There are two hundred or more varieties of domestic 
pigeons which breed true ; and yet it is practically certain that all these 
varieties run back to a common form. The many varieties of dog are 
thought to have been derived from a few wolflike species. 

The improvement attained by such selection is a matter of common 
experience : compare the big-bodied, unwieldy domestic swine with 
the long-legged, swift, and dangerous wild boar. The cow native 
to South Africa yields at most three pints of poor milk per diem to 
strenuous exertion on the part of the milker, and refuses milk as soon 
as the calf is removed ; the best modern cows secrete in their greatly 
distended udders up to twenty quarts and over a day, and although 
the calf is removed within a week or ten days after birth, the lacta- 
tion period extends from eight to eleven months. 1 Sheep have been 
similarly improved as respects their yield of wool. The average weight 
per fleece in the United States in 1900 was about six and seven-tenths 

1 Records of milk yield are kept by lactation periods. The highest Guernsey milk 
record known at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is 12,855.5 lb- of 
milk in one period: a cow of this breed weighing 11 50 lb. gave 11,219 lb- of milk in 
one lactation period, containing 602.91 lb. of fat, equivalent to 753.5 lb. of butter. A 
good cow should give 5000 lb. of milk in one period ; and the period may extend to 
within a few weeks of the birth of the next calf. These figures were personally com- 
municated by Dr. E. H. Jenkins. 


pounds, and this figure is taken to represent an increase of at least one 
and four-tenths pounds since 1880 ; " in the fifty years since the first 
agricultural census, the average product of wool per sheep has increased 
approximately 140 per cent." Modern breeds vary a great deal one 
from another in weight and quality of fleece ; the Cheviot bears coarser 
and less dense wool ; while the merino ram, with his loose skin afford- 
ing a great area for the growth of wool, yields from twenty to twenty- 
four pounds of a very high quality. 1 Naturally, since the sheep has 
been so greatly altered since its first domestication, we can make little 
reliable comparison of the domesticated and the wild breeds ; but we 
are told that the merino may have 48,000 fibers to a square inch of 
skin, where the old German sheep had»but 5500. The domesticated 
cluck lays about ten times as many eggs as the wild duck. Among 
domestic fowls some breeds of chicken rank as " everlasting layers," 
and others as setters ; by selection a pure white, yellow-legged variety 
has been developed out of forms usually variegated in color ; game and 
bantam breeds form extremes in two directions. 

159. Conditions and localities of selection. In all these ways man 
takes advantage of the laws of nature to accomplish his own better 
success in the struggle for life. It must be understood, however, that 
he is able to make no new varieties except by adding up or neutral- 
izing such variations as are presented to him by nature itself (§135). 
He is obliged likewise, at the outset of his breeding activities, to take 
such plants and animals as are present in his neighborhood. Nor are 
all animals easily tractable ; some resist all attempts of the domesti- 
cator ; others cannot live or cannot breed in confinement. Few mem- 
bers of the cat tribe can be considered as ever having been truly 
domesticated ; some birds of prey are unable to lay fertile eggs in 
captivity. The elephant, retained under domestication only a few 
hundred miles, perhaps, from his natural haunts, is normally unable 
to reproduce. The fundamental limitations to man's activities, refer- 
able to natural conditions and laws, must be kept constantly in mind 
if we are to get an undistorted view of the truth. We must also con- 
sider the status of the men who are doing the breeding ; in order 
to embark at all upon such undertakings, man must have a certain 
mental endowment, and especially foresight. It is a fact that scarcely 
any of the world's important domesticated plants or animals — those 
which contribute much to the stream of commerce — have reached 
their present form through the agency of savage peoples. 

1 L. II. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Agriculture, III, 610 ff. ; Twelfth Census 
of the United States, V, ccxv-ccxvi. 


Darwin has enumerated the following conditions as favorable to 
artificial selection of plants or animals : a high degree of variability ; 
great numbers ; propagation in great numbers and at a quick rate ; ease 
in preventing crosses. High variability and great numbers afford more 
and wider diverging chances from which to select ; without variability 
there would be no " choice " (or selection) ; without high variability no 
extremes to select. Propagation in great numbers keeps up these 
chances, and if the generations follow each other closely there is 
more opportunity to apply and to correct methods of selection. A 
doe rabbit has her first litter at the age of four months ; thereafter 
she litters eight times per year, having about eight young at a time. 
Assuming that all their offspring live and reproduce at this rate, two 
rabbits would have at the end of the third year of breeding some 
13,718,000 descendants. Comparing this total with that attainable 
by the slowest breeding of animals, the elephant (which, commencing 
at the age of thirty, breeds only six times in the next seventy years), we 
can see the importance for selection of a rapid sequence of generations. 
Supposing these two animals to be domesticated, a man beginning at 
the age of twenty-five to breed the former could, at the age of sixty- 
five, have observed and selected from some 320 generations ; during 
the same period he could have observed only one new generation of 
the slower breeding animal. His chance to mold the former would 
have been far superior to what it could have been in the case of the 
latter. Again, prevention of crossing is absolutely necessary in pre- 
serving and building up a breed. There are few animals that will 
mate for life like the pigeon, and isolation must be effected in artificial 
ways, by inclosure, etc. Now the savage will not be sufficiently intelli- 
gent to persist long enough to develop a real new breed ; and because 
he is not sedentary in habits, or does not make and keep up his inci- 
sures, his breeds are constantly in danger of falling back by mixture 
with less developed forms. We should hardly expect, then, that the best 
domesticated animals should originate in regions of low civilization. 
To take examples : there is no domesticated animal or plant of the 
slightest importance from Australia ; there are few or none that are 
worth domestication, and if there had been, the natives were never 
equal to the task. There are few or none from Africa south of the 
Sahara, certainly none that bulk large in the history of commerce. 
The African elephant has not been tamed, let alone domesticated. 
The native vegetable exports of central and southern Africa are 
mostly the products of plants that grow with little or no care, and in 
an unimproved form — palm oil, bananas, rubber, etc. Durrha and 


possibly coffee, from southern Abyssinia, may be exceptions. The 
animal products are generally the spoils of the hunt, e.g. ivory or 
ostrich feathers. And when we turn to the New World the case 
becomes the clearer. Of the actually cultivated and improved vege- 
tal products contributed by the American aborigines to the world, 
maize, manioc (the plant from which tapioca is made), the potato, 
sweet potato, tomato, some varieties of cotton and indigo, and to- 
bacco are practically alone. How much " improvement " was made, 
say on the manioc, is questionable. The cacao, coca, agave, cinchona, 
vanilla, and capsicum had been utilized almost as they occurred in 
nature ; the quinoa seed never attained commercial importance. If 
there were other half-developed grains and plants, they quickfy suc- 
cumbed to the competition of similar Old World flora. The case 
of the animals is the more striking, for prevention of crossing is 
perhaps harder with beings not chained to the soil. The only domes- 
ticated animal native to America that has any claim to importance 
in the world at large is the turkey, and that was domesticated by 
Europeans (§ 234). It is probable that the Americas contain but few 
fauna apt for domestication ; it is doubtful if the llama, vicuna, and 
alpaca would ever have made good beasts of burden, at least not 
without the most discriminating and age-long selection. The richness 
of the field for hunting undoubtedly held back the development of 
domestication. But it is certain that the net product is very small, 
considering that the Americas form one third of the world's land 
mass and afford a diversified environment suitable for the develop- 
ment of a large and varied fauna. 

160. Eurasia the center of early domestication and breeding. If 
now, in our search for the source of the world's domesticated flora 
and fauna, we turn to Eurasia, the tale is different. Practically all the 
grains but maize, nearly all the fruits, spices, and condiments, as well 
as textile products, vegetal and animal, and practically all the domes- 
ticated animals come from this region. It is impossible to be exact 
and definite regarding such questions of origin, but it is likely that 
the majority of these products, especially the most refined of them, 
came from the regions of ancient civilization : the valleys of the great 
Chinese rivers, of the Ganges and Indus, the Euphrates and Tigris, 
and the Nile. These were the locations where the natural and the 
human elements united to render selection and improvement possible 
and even easy. 

The following improved products are referable to the regions of 
ancient civilization in the Far East (China, India, Malay Archipelago) : 


rice; possibly millet; the orange and lemon; citron ; shaddock; sugar- 
cane ; pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmegs, and some other 
spices ; tea ; opium ; most of the cottons ; Manila hemp ; China grass ; 
some varieties of indigo. Plainly several of these are simply taken 
out of nature and not "improved." The Asiatic and European plains 
in the neighborhood of the Caspian probably saw the origin and par- 
tial domestication of rye, oats, and hemp ; buckwheat seems to have 
been domesticated somewhat farther to the north. To Europe are 
assigned the turnip, beet, asparagus, hop, some varieties of apple and 
pear ; to the Asian steppes certain melons, gourds, etc. If now we look 
for the regions of Eurasia to which the rest of our important domes- 
ticated plants are referable, we find them in western and southwestern 
Asia and in neighboring parts of Africa and probably Europe. If 
one leg of a compass could be placed upon ancient Nineveh and a 
radius of a thousand miles or so be taken, the perimeter of the circle 
thus described would probably well include the seats of the effective 
domestication of the great majority of our best cultivated plants : 
wheat ; barley ; spelt ; some varieties of millet ; sesame ; onion and 
garlic ; carrots and the like; the pulses (pease, beans, etc.) ; the olive ; 
date palm ; fig ; pomegranate ; plum ; apple ; apricot ; pear ; cherry ; 
peach ; all the best vines ; coffee (Arabian) ; mastix ; flax. Most of 
these are highly refined products, the results of long selection, and 
are far removed from the forms as found in nature. 

It is sometimes possible to localize these origins a little more defi- 
nitely, but in the majority of cases this is precarious ; for the purpose 
in hand some such general perspective as the above is sufficient. 

If we turn now to the origins of domestic animals, the case is not so 
different from that of the plants. To the Far East (including India) 
may be assigned the swine ; silkworm ; domestic fowl ; pigeon ; pea- 
cock. Here only was the elephant tamed (not domesticated). For 
the rest we must look to the central plains of western Asia and to 
the region included within our imaginary circle. Naturally a wan- 
dering folk is much better able to domesticate and breed animals 
than plants ; it is therefore likely that these processes were partially 
carried out before the animals were subjected to the more searching 
selection (under isolation) possible only in the centers of culture. 
From western and southwestern Asia came the goat and sheep, 
the camel and dromedary, ass and horse. Of the horned cattle a 
variety (carabao) is found in the East ; the better western breed was 
developed probably in western Asia. The bee is an Old World 
product. The reindeer was tamed first in arctic Asia. No region of 


domestication can be assigned with any safety to the cosmopolitan dog, 
cat, duck, goose, etc. It is, however, certain that none of these latter, 
in the cultivated forms which we know, originated in the Americas 
or Australia ; in these continents what domestication there was, was 
local and so remained ; even the llama of Peru never made its way 
outside of the South American plateaus. The weight of probability 
goes to show that the development of the best breeds of both plants 
and animals is possible only to people of a relatively high civilization, 
as evidenced by density of population, sedentary life, intellectual su- 
periority, technical skill in isolation and selection, and the like. 

The artificial distribution of the domesticated flora and fauna will 
appear under later sections of this book (§§ 214, 234, 239, 240, 241, 
242, 243). It may, however, be reiterated here that the laws of accli- 
matization (§§143, 145 above) have to be strictly observed, and that, 
in general, artificial distribution consists in the conveyance of the plant 
or animal to a region essentially identical with the original habitat, or 
artificially rendered so. The tree from whose bark the drug quinine 
is derived demanded the drenching rains of the eastern Andes ; and 
it would not thrive elsewhere until the British had ferreted out, in 
their broad dominions, the almost exact counterpart of its native en- 
vironment. If the new home is identical or nearly identical with the 
old, of course there is no hindrance to this spread ; but with every 
difference, adjustment to which requires much artificial aid, the grow- 
ing element of cost renders what is physically difficult commercially 


161. Influence of the distribution of inorganic materials. Thus far 
in this chapter we have considered only organic products, and we have 
treated of them first, inasmuch as the conditions of their life and dis- 
tribution are so closely connected with the topic of climate with which 
we began. But there are many inorganic substances which likewise 
enter into trade because they serve either as repair to the waste of the 
body or as essential materials in the development of the apparatus of 
civilization. The distribution of water (§§ 81, 94) and of salt is of 
prime importance to man as an animal ; and that of the useful rocks 
and ores (§ 38) to man as a social being. The value of flint and clay 
deposits to early man is proved both by the series of combats for the 
possession of the deposits and by the extent of trade in the articles 
themselves (cf. § 182). The same might be said of salt, shells, and 
other like commodities. And when the desire to possess the precious 


metals and stones became strong, the disposition of these treasures 
exerted a strong influence upon local and general history. For long 
ages the legend of the Gold and Silver Islands attracted the world, 
and the Discoveries Period was full of the search for sudden wealth 
in the shape of deposits of the precious metals or of peoples who 
could be robbed of the products Which they had extracted from mines. 
Whole settlements have risen about productive lodes, and then dwin- 
dled with their exhaustion. Prospectors and adventurers rushed to the 
Indies, Spanish and Portuguese America, California, Australia, South 
Africa, Alaska, to be followed later, in some cases, by those who rep- 
resented more settled occupations, and then by genuine settlers. Take 
especially the case of California. The rush of the " forty-niners " re- 
sulted in the creation of a wild, irregular, and lawless community. But 
it drew men to an almost unoccupied land, to learn of its value in lines 
other than those of the metal-extractive industries ; and exploitation 
was gradually modified into rational development of resources. Devel- 
opment of national interests on the Pacific coast then motived those 
extraordinary undertakings in the construction of railroads which 
ended by binding together in national unity and common interest re- 
gions 3000 miles apart and separated by barriers which, except for 
an extraordinary attraction, would have remained long insuperable 
(cf. § 302). Thus the presence of the precious metals has given a 
start to the settlement of countries which have later taken a higher 
place in the making of history and in the world of trade. 

The history of American mining-towns presents many examples of the deter- 
mining effect of mineral deposits. Butte, Montana, is a city of 62,000 inhabitants, 
supported by copper underlying about one square mile of land surface. The metal 
forms the sole raison d'etre of this considerable settlement, for in other respects 
the region is unproductive and unattractive ; without the mines the locality would 
support with difficulty a population of one hundred souls. The mineral deposits 
of Nevada occur beneath strips of land a few hundred feet in width and in the 
midst of a hopeless desert, but they have formed plausible pretext for adding a 
State to the Union and two Senators to Congress. The decline of the lodes has 
now reduced Virginia City to a population of 2500, as against 11,000 in 1880, 
when it was one of the busiest cities in America, in the midst of a superlatively 
" booming " State. In 1900 Nevada was credited with a population of 42,335 — 
a figure somewhat under that for 1870 ; thus this State, with an area twice that 
of New England, has less population than Waterbury, Connecticut. 1 

But it is not alone the precious metals which have determined hu- 
man history. The wealth of England has lain in good part in the 

1 Gregory and Keller, " Controlling Conditions of Commerce," Harper's Mo?ithly, 
March, 1908. 


natural advantage it has possessed in the juxtaposition of its coal and 
iron deposits (§ 331), an advantage which accrued to us of America 
only after the development of rapid and cheap transportation had 
neutralized the factor of distance — when the physically difficult had 
been rendered sufficiently easy to become commercially possible. One 
might further instance the early connection of England with the 
Mediterranean nations, owing to the presence of tin in Cornwall ; 
the prosperity of many sections of the world, due to the discovery of 
petroleum ; the importance of the copper mines in the development 
of Lake Superior regions ; and so on. The great prosperity of Pitts- 
burg, Pennsylvania, owing to the simultaneous presence of coal, iron, 
petroleum, and facilities for water and land transportation, is a case of 
a plurality of favoring conditions. 

We have now considered climate and the character of flora and 
fauna as natural conditions which directly influence the life and activi- 
ties of man, or which call forth in him his special powers of adaptation 
through intellectual processes ; and we have touched upon the distri- 
bution of inorganic products. The bearing of all this upon the devel- 
opment of trade is obvious ; if it affects man's very life it certainly 
affects all his activities ; and if it affects the sum of his activities it 
certainly affects trade. 1 We turn now to another set of conditions still 
partially connected with climate, but depending more directly upon 
the forms of land and the presence or absence of water. 

1 The data of trade assembled in the later pages of this volume sufficiently dem- 
onstrate this conclusion ; it is the chief object of our writing to place behind the bald 
facts and statistics of commerce the underlying explanations which will render the 
study of the actual data something more than an exercise in ineffectual memorizing. 
It is manifestly impossible in this place to deal with more than generalities ; but it is 
suggested to both teacher and student that a correct apprehension of these general- 
ities will help them to explain local and variant cases for themselves. 



162. Topographic influences in general. Diversifications of the 
surface of the land (§22 and Chapter II), determining as they do the 
forms of coast line, the general direction of drainage, avenues of com- 
munication, etc., exercise a very strong influence upon the life of man. 
The effect of elevation on climate has been explained in a former 
chapter ; thus we may have a temperate climate within the tropics or 
even under the equator, and resulting phenomena of human life approx- 
imately characteristic of such climate (§§ 51, 112, 148). The only 
advanced civilization native to the Americas was developed upon high 
plateaus, in Mexico and Peru ; Montezuma's capital lay at an altitude 
.of about 7500 feet and that of the Incas was some 5000 feet higher. 
Altitude, however, with its accompanying thinness of air, also exerts a 
strong influence upon the human organism, rendering a people less 
energetic and progressive. Horses brought from New York could not 
race on the plateau of Anahuac ; and men are said to be incapacitated 
for the most strenuous efforts. The porters of Mexico city used to 
carry far lighter loads than did those of Vera Cruz. The civilization of 
plateaus, for this and other reasons (isolation, etc.; cf. §§ 166, 170), 
has never reached the height of that developed in lower flat regions : 
contrast Mexico, Peru, or Tibet with China or Egypt. High plateaus 
are, as a class, the most unfruitful parts of the earth. Since " every 
elevation of ground diminishes the density of population, or, as it 
were, loosens it . . ., it is very significant that, of all the quarters of 
the world, Europe has the lowest mean altitude (§37). It is essential 
to all progress of culture that men should not be separated by great 
distances." 1 

Again, the influence of altitude upon the life of many virulent dis- 
ease germs is very marked : yellow fever, with its insect agency of 
propagation, never ascended higher than about 3600 feet — some 
say far less — above the sea level ; typhoid was unknown upon the 

1 Peschel, Races, p. 509. 


Cordilleras ; lofty stations are favorable to recovery from tuberculosis 
of the lungs. 

Man is, as it were, a deep-sea inhabitant of an ocean of air ; he is limited as to 
his expansion, not only in a perpendicular direction but laterally over the floor of 
his ocean as well (§§ 55,56,59). He can attain great altitudes — he can climb 
Chimborazo (over 20,000 feet) or ascend to a height of over 35,000 feet in a bal- 
loon — but he cannot live there. His heart-beat is quickened, and the symptoms 
indicating that the organism is out of its proper environment are exhibited. The 
highest inhabited places are not of an elevation of over 15,000 feet. In Italy 
only 0.3 in 1000 people live at an elevation of over 5500 feet, and only 7.3 per 
1000 above 3600 ; elevations of 0-160 feet and 320-1000 feet show figures of 264 
and 272 per thousand, that is, they harbor, taken together, over one-half of the 
Italian population. And, significantly enough, elevations in warmer regions are of 
about the same populousness as the colder latitudes to which they correspond : Al- 
pine regions of an elevation of about 1600 feet show a density of population 
corresponding to that of Norway ; high Peru and Mexico (above 8000 feet) have 
the density of Spain. 

The following table shows the density of population at certain altitudes in the 
United States (1880): 

Altitude Population Per Cent 

Up to 100 feet 9,152,296 .... 18 

100-500 10,776,284 .... 21 

500-1000 19,024,310 .... 38 

1000-1500 7,904,780 .... 16 

1500-2000 1,878,715 .... 3.7 

2000-3000 664,923 .... 1.3 

3000-4000 . 128,544 .... 0.23 

4000-5000 167,236 .... 0.33 

5000-6000 271,317 ... . 0.54 

6000-7000 94,443 .... 0.19 

7000-8000 15,054 .... 0.03 

8000-9000 24,947 .... 0.05 

9000-10,000 26,846 .... 0.05 

10,000 and above 26,078 .... 0.05 

The Mohawk valley, which cuts to a depth of about 140 feet between the 
mountains, exhibits a strip of country numbering 45 to 90 inhabitants per square 
mile between two strips numbering from 6 to 18. Naturally the conditions of 
communication have a good deal to do with these facts, as will presently be seen : 
but the underlying influence of altitude is not thereby minimized. 1 

Other effects of diversification of land forms might be cited, for 
instance, that affecting rainfall and the formation of deserts (§§ 115, 
120, 125). Mountains generally have a dry and a wet side, and if 
they shut off an interior, as in Australia (§ 361), from the vapor-bearing 
winds, aridity must result. In this place, however, we wish rather to 

1 Most of the above figures are from Ratzel's Anth.. I, 311 ff . : TT. 21 t ff. 


emphasize a typical, and perhaps the most comprehensive, influence 
of topography — that which it exercises upon the relations of com- 
munication between human groups. It should be understood at once 
that extreme isolation is unfavorable for the development of civili- 
zation. No single group can develop culture, material or other, for it 
is by the conflict, comparison or exchange, and accumulation of the 
ideas of many that a fund of civilization is produced. It is only where 
there is a severe struggle between numbers of forms of plants and 
animals that the most highly developed stocks arise ; and the same is 
true of human affairs — there must be competition to force advance 
(§ I 35)- The effects of isolation may be seen in the provinciality of 
remote towns in America ; and in their extreme in the case of such 
groups as the inhabitants of deserts and remote islands. In general, 
a type of country that favors movement will favor the growth of civili- 
zation along with that of trade. Let us now consider topography from 
this view point. 

163. Land transportation. What man has to overcome in his 
movements is the inequality of surfaces, i.e. friction ; and, in a gen- 
eral way, the extreme inequalities between mountains and plains 
may be viewed as a sort of friction, entailing extreme effort in move- 
ment. Taking up specifically land communications, it will be seen, 
then, that the peoples of plains have a great advantage over those 
who live in a broken country. Mountaineers dwell in small groups in 
narrow valleys, cut off from the rest of the world ; so do oasis dwell- 
ers, for the oasis is, as it were, an island in a sea of sand across 
whose surface passage is superlatively difficult — and the desert, 
like the sea, has its pirates ; plain dwellers, on the contrary, exist in 
larger numbers, move about and collide or coalesce with other groups. 
If the plains are very fertile, i.e. well watered, a dense population 
may be supported (§§ 165, 173). Consequently, the former types are 
backward and conservative ; the latter advanced and progressive. It 
is a case of isolation versus non-isolation. The very origins of our 
civilization in general, as well as of such acquisitions as domesticated 
plants and animals (§§ 159-160), are referable to dwellers on plains. 
Civilization is a product not only of numbers but of the frequent 
contact of numbers as well. 

The destiny of a people, if it meets barriers to communication, de- 
pends largely upon the relative difficulty of the latter, and also upon 
the power of the groups to react upon and overcome them. Of all 
physical barriers the mountains and deserts are the most redoubtable. 
One of the conditions favorable for the rapid colonization of the 


Americas was the fact that all the great mountain ranges lay in the west 
(cf. §§ 61 ff.). The eastern ranges in both North and South America 
are low and are pierced by relatively easy passes ; if the Americas 
had been approached from Asia instead of Europe, there would have 
been a different tale to tell. It took all the momentum of a rapid ad- 
vance of large bodies of settlers from the Alleghenies to the region 
beyond the Mississippi to carry population and governmental unity 
across the Rockies ; the Andes are surmounted by a railroad, the 
momentum for the building of which came mainly from the side 
of the Argentine Republic. The power to overcome topographic bar- 
riers to free communication is, of course, a measure of intellectual 
adaptation or of civilization (§ 139). It is significant that it was the 
North Africans and Europeans, not the Sudanese, who penetrated the 
Sahara. No such penetration is possible until a people has acquired 
some " ship of the desert " or, later, some *' iron horse." 

164. Motive forces, roads, and vehicles. One of the important re- 
actions of man on nature is here suggested : the development of 
means and ways of transportation (§ 291). First of all, of course, 
man was his own pack animal ; then in the course of time he devel- 
oped such diverse and variously adapted beasts as the reindeer, dog, ox, 
yak, ass, mule, horse, camel, dromedary, elephant, and llama. Much 
later he advanced to the " domestication " as motor power of actual 
nature forces — heat, steam, gas, electricity. A large amount of skill 
and ingenuity was also expended in obviating and minimizing friction, 
in the case of the development of vehicles and roads. From the sledge 
or drag, pulled by main force over a variety of obstacles, advance was 
made to rolling friction by the invention of rollers and of a solid 
wheel and axle. The wheels were then made lighter, spoked, and 
allowed to revolve about a stationary axle. Roads were cleared and 
improved to correspond with the new vehicle. Speed and comfort ad- 
vanced with these improvements until now we see the light, motor- 
driven, rubber-tired vehicle on a road of macadam, brick, wood block, 
or asphalt. Upon a good macadamized road a horse can draw up to 
two tons, that is, about twenty-five times what he could carry as a 
regular load on the back. On a tramway, it is said, he can draw a 
weight of 33,000 pounds, the pack load of 150 horses. 1 We see 
more : enormous railroad trains roll, with smooth wheels and lubricated 
axles, upon narrow ways of polished steel. To better the road for 
these gigantic vehicles, cutting, tunneling, bridging, and filling-in on 
a large scale are everyday matters, undertaken often for the saving of 

1 Bourdeau, Forces, p. 95. 


minute fractions of time, or to avoid the strain and wear of grades and 
curves. By such smooth and speedy communication, along with an- 
nihilation of time and distance, isolation is invaded, and civilization 
may proceed with accelerated pace. 1 Herein lies a victory of man 
over the resistance of natural barriers and of the contact of surfaces. 

It has been estimated that the exertion put forth in the transportation of a given 
weight over a given distance varies with different types of vehicle and roadbed as 
follows : " Upon a natural land-surface, not levelled, but clayey and hard, the re- 
lation of draught to weight is 0.250, that is to say, 250 kilograms descending on a 
pulley would move a burden of 1000 kilograms. Upon a natural surface, not lev- 
elled, but flinty or chalky, the relation is reduced to 0.165. Upon a ballasted road 
in the usual state of maintenance, it is 0.080. Upon a macadamized road, perfectly 
maintained. ... it descends to 0.033. Upon a road with flat [tram] rails ... it is 
reduced to 0.0 10. Finally, upon a railroad with edged rails it is not over 0.007, 
and even, if the axles are kept well lubricated, 0.005." 2 

It is wellnigh unnecessary, when the books and magazines are so full of descrip- 
tions of man's " labor-saving " devices, to say anything upon this subject. How- 
ever, the following quotations may serve to place in its setting a topic that should 
not be overlooked. Each advance in the arts means an economy of some sort : 
" in England the subsistence of a laborer cannot be reckoned as less than 60 
cents a day ; but that of a horse, equal to seven men, amounts to only 40 cents : 
and a horse-power, which represents two horses, is obtained with a quantity of coal 
whose price does not exceed 8 cents." Again, " a locomotive, run by an engineer 
and fireman, draws a load of 660,000 pounds a mean distance of over 90 miles a 
day. The same labor performed by men (at the rate of 1 540 pounds transported 
about three-fifths of a mile over level ground in one day) would call for 64,000 
carriers. The 20,000 locomotives which Europe boasted in 1869 would thus re- 
place 1,280,000,000 men." 3 At this rate a few more locomotives would, with the 
20,000, have done work equivalent to that of the population of the world. This 
calculation was made on the basis of conditions existing forty years ago ; what the 
various mechanical devices are doing now, and will do in the future toward the 
increase and economy of man's power, may be left to the imagination. 

1 A contrast between conditions of communication in Ecuador and those to which 
Americans in the United States are used may render our contentions, commonplace 
enough if they are not attentively scrutinized, more vivid. In Ecuador the means of 
internal communication " are in such an extraordinary condition that people in dif- 
ferent parts of the country are absolutely strangers to one another ; so much so that 
the notes issued by the banks in the capital, Quito, are not current in the chief port, 
Guayaquil. The so-called roads are generally mule-tracks, which are practically closed 
throughout the rainy season, i.e. for half the year ; and, where there is no ready-made 
mule-track, recourse is had to the bed of a torrent which has ploughed a fairly dis- 
tinct channel through the loose volcanic soil. Even over the main track from Quito 
to Guayaquil merchandise cannot pass at all during the winter ; and a mounted post- 
man has actually been drowned in the mud in attempting to carry letters between 
the two cities. Even in the open season goods sometimes take six months to travel 
over the 200 miles of land between Bodegas and Quito" (Lyde, Comm. Geog., 

PP- 37-38). 

2 Bourdeau, Forces, p. 95. 3 Ibid., pp. 220, 239, 240. 


165. The distribution of water. Reserving a further discussion of 
methods and routes of land transportation for later pages (§§ 184 ft*.), 
we now turn to the influence, not only upon trade but upon man's 
whole life, of the distribution of water. Since the body of an adult is 
composed of about 58.5 per cent of water, as against 41.5 of firmer 
material, it is clear that to repair its waste (cf . §152) water is quite as 
necessary as more solid food. We find, therefore, that the distribu- 
tion of man on earth is determined largely by the water supply ; that 
large stretches of desert are unoccupied, and that population tends to 
mass itself in well-watered districts. In later times the importance of 
water power has been very great, as is shown by the tendency to settle 
along the foot of elevations from which rivers descend to the coastal 
plain. This tendency, as has been seen, was very plainly marked in the 
early history of the Atlantic coastal plain in the United States (§§ 46, 
62 > 93). The physical forces that regulate the distribution of water have 
already been discussed (§§120, 121). For the preservation of his 
body the ordinary man must have some three to four quarts of water 
daily (§ 81), the actual amount of water-drinking depending upon the 
amount of the fluid in his food. But the element must be there, and 
is taken, in all probability, in much greater quantity than the amount 
strictly necessary for the restoration of bodily waste. Now we know 
that man may accustom himself to less than the average amount of 
water taken, or, at least, to drinking at longer intervals. Desert dwell- 
ers, like the Bedouins, drink infrequently and sparingly; members of 
one of the Sahara tribes are said to endure thirst with apparent ease 
for four days ; like the fauna of the desert, e.g. the camel, they ex- 
hibit a plainly marked adaptation of habit, and very likely of physique, 
to their environment (§ 136). Aside, however, from these extreme 
cases, we find the movements of men more largely controlled by the 
distribution of drinking water ; whether the liquid finally arrives in 
their bodies directly, or via plant or animal food, is of little moment. 
Settlements tend to rise about springs or upon river banks ; the charts 
of prehistoric finds show that primitive groups almost invariably located 
near a body of water (cf. §§ 88, 92, 94). 

166. River valleys the foci of early civilization. This happens, 
of course, not only because human life depends upon moisture, but 
also because the location of the plants and animals upon which man 
relies for the continued restoration of bodily waste is likewise deter- 
mined by the distribution of water. Confining ourselves for the mo- 
ment to the waters of the land, it is clear that terrestrial and amphibian, 
not to mention aquatic, fauna were naturally more prevalent in river 


regions. It is not at all strange, therefore, that population has concen- 
trated, especially in former ages, in fertile river bottoms (cf. § 59) ; 
and if we bear in mind that concentration of population and growth 
of civilization go together, we see that it is not by chance that the ori- 
gins of the world's culture have been found in river countries, and 
chiefly in the alluvial deltas. Moreover, despite the fact that they arc 
conveniently used as political boundaries (§ 88), rivers have never 
constituted real barriers to communication, but rather the reverse. 
Chinese civilization arose in the valleys of the great Chinese rivers ; 
that of the Hindus about the Ganges and Indus 1 ; that of the Assyrians 
in the river island of Mesopotamia (" between the rivers ") ; that of 
Egypt close by " Father Nile." From these regions came many of 
the products of domestication and selection, processes most successful 
where physical conditions were most favorable and civilization most 
advanced (§§ 159, 160). Here were the first great cities — agglom- 
erations of population between which, naturally enough, the routes of 
trade were bound to stretch. 

And this characterization can be further extended. In the wide, 
well-watered valleys of river systems was plenty of space for expansion 
and for the formation of a great people. The inertia of such is repre- 
sented by the persistence of their type of civilization even when they 
are in subjection ; they are able to absorb their conquerors and pursue 
their way virtually undisturbed, as China did after the eruption of the 
barbarian Mongols. But their way is the way of civilization ; hence 
the persistence of culture despite the apparently overwhelming inroads 
of barbarism. The power with the " hinterland " will regularly prevail 
over the one that has no such space in which to throw out its roots, as is 
shown in the case of the conflict between Rome and Carthage. 2 One 
of the reasons for the higher development of civilization in the north- 
ern hemisphere is that the climatic and other conditions favorable to 
such development are so restricted in their areas of application in the 
southern continents. The temperate regions south of the equator, which 
are at the same time well-watered plains, are extremely limited by the 
shape of the land masses (cf . §§ 127, 128). Furthermore, the existence 
of plenty of available land causes a demand for men, and gives rise to a 
population policy that works toward the strengthening of numbers and 
toward the development of ideals of equality, independence, and prog- 
ress ; for example, in the settlement of what is now the United States. 

1 The Chinese say that they became civilized when they got down in the river 
region ; the influx of the Aryans into India is well known. 
2 Ratzel, Anth., I, 165, 180, 188. 


Thus regions showing little irregularity of surface have their char- 
acteristic life as determined by the presence of abundant moisture, 
and the absence or rarity of the latter is equally determinative of other 
types (§§ 122 ff.). It may be said of the desert type that the neces- 
sary limitation and dispersion of population prevents any very great 
advance in civilization. A characteristic life is lived also in the sub- 
arid grassy steppes or prairies. They are the great cattle-raising areas, 
with a population which seldom or never forms large groups, but 
which is in earlier times nomadic, moving from place to place with 
the Mocks, either to arrive at new regions of water supply or of more 
abundant vegetation, and rarely developing a more than semi-ciyiliza- 
tion. This suggests the principle that sedentary life is more favorable 
for the development of culture than is nomadic life, a principle seen 
upon reflection to be perfectly self-evident. Continuous change, the 
frequent upheaval, overturning, and consequent disorder of social life 
are as unfavorable for the higher development of civilization as is 
isolation for its beginning. Once well started, civilization becomes a 
matter of the accumulation of instruments, arts, etc., which aid in the 
struggle for life ; of property and capital, which represent in reality 
energy stored against this struggle. Much of such accumulation be- 
comes fixed ; civilization thus acquires or invests in an apparatus which 
cannot well be shifted. This deserves further illustration. The higher 
the civilization the more extensive is the investment that man is re- 
quired to make and the more " tied up" does it become. It would be 
generally admitted that to plant and reap is a more civilized proceed- 
ing than to forage in nature for what can be picked up. But the 
former implies the investment of labor and capital (seed) in the ground 
and the sojourn of the investors, at least for a time, in the neighbor- 
hood of the crops. If, now, trees and vines are planted for whose 
fruition it is necessary to wait months or years, the sedentary charac- 
ter of the cultivators' life must be further accentuated. To take still 
another illustration : the more the domestic "plant" is developed the 
more fixed must the family or group become. When this plant is rep- 
resented by a tent, a few robes, mats, pots, and kettles, the shifting is 
as easy as it is for a camping party or a band of gypsies ; the whole 
establishment is in some cases on wheels. But when the home becomes 
large and strongly built, the furnishings more numerous and bulky, 
and so on, movement becomes difficult and all but impossible. These 
examples serve to illustrate the commonly accepted fact, so strenuously 
insisted upon by missionaries, that sedentary life and high civilization 
go together. They also cast light upon a foregoing statement, that 


natives of the wide steppes seldom if ever develop more than a semi- 

167. Manipulation of the water supply. But man has in time re- 
acted through intellectual adaptation upon conditions of this character, 
and where moisture is not freely given by nature, he has learned to 
employ artificial means of supply. His attempts along this line were 
at first extremely crude, consisting of the enlistment of magic on the 
part of medicine-men. One of the great functions of the magician 
among dwellers on dry plains is ''rain making"; in fact, the whole 
life of the people revolves about the attainment of rain, the operations 
calculated to cause the spirits to send it, and the like. Within the 
last years we have seen numerous attempts to cause rain artificially. 
These are sometimes based, even though mistakenly, upon rational 
procedure ; indeed, many ages ago men devised rational measures, if 
not to produce rain, at least to extend productive areas by the artificial 
distribution of water (§95). The practice of irrigation is very ancient 
and widespread ; by its means thousands of square miles have been re- 
claimed for human use. Aqueducts and other engineering works were 
constructed many centuries ago, especially by the practical-minded 
Romans. In modern times the processes of irrigation have been per- 
fected ; in the United States, in 1902, almost eight and a half million 
acres had been subtracted from scarcely habitable desert regions. In 
British India, in 1907, there were 55,928 miles of canals, etc., com- 
manding 50,000,000 acres of culturable land, the area actually irri- 
gated in 1906-1907 being 21,992,683 acres ; and there are 42 projects 
under construction or awaiting sanction, designed to irrigate 6,280,- 
000 acres. Probably the most interesting case of water storage and 
distribution has occurred in Egypt. The life of this country is the 
river Nile, whose annual overflow covers an otherwise desert area 
with an average of some three hundredths of an inch of silt, rendering 
it very fertile. The population which this country will support is really 
limited by the productivity thus induced ; consequently the effort of 
man has been for ages expended upon the artificial increase of the 
fertilized area. Attempts were early made to retain the overflow as 
long as possible in order to profit by a greater precipitation of mud ; 
this was at first done by the use of little canals, flood gates, etc. In 
the middle of the nineteenth century (1861), however, there was com- 
pleted a barrage calculated to hold back the whole river at the delta, 
and thus cause it to overflow a greater area. The annual cotton crop 
increased to about five times its earlier figure as a consequence. But 
it became apparent about twenty-five years ago that the limit of this 


dam's utility had been reached ; for the further development of popu- 
lation, products, and comfort some new application of art was needful. 
This led to the construction of the famous Assuan Dam, opened De- 
cember 8, 1902, at an expense, counting accessory works, of something 
over $100,000,000. By this means the water supply is immensely in- 
creased ; the dam stores 1 ,000,000,000 tons of water, enough to sup- 
ply fully every town and village in the United Kingdom for one year. 
This supply can be retained or released according to the varying needs 
of the different years or seasons ; the sluices may be opened early in 
March, and for four months a good head of water for irrigating pur- 
poses can be maintained. By means of irrigation devices Egypt has, 
with some intermissions, won up to 20,000 acres annually for cultiva- 
tion. The effect upon the disposition of the cultivators has not been 
slight ; the inhabitants know now that crops will not fail them, for 
they are independent of the variability of rise in the waters. When 
several projected improvements shall have been made, including the 
raising of the dam sixteen feet, the whole river from the lakes to 
the sea will be under control. It is by such stupendous operations 
that man has come to be regarded as nature's master ; but it must 
be constantly borne in mind that the limits within which he can work 
are after all very narrow, and that in his endeavor to " control " na- 
ture he is soon brought to face elemental forces against which all 
effort is futile. 

168. Proximity to seas and oceans. We have seen, then, the in- 
fluence upon human civilization — and so upon the production of 
merchantable commodities — of the distribution of rainfall with its 
resultant effects upon soil. We purposely reserve the discussion 
of the routes of trade, as determined by reservoirs or streams of 
water, for a later chapter (§§ 186 ff.). But we have not yet consid- 
ered the effects of proximity to seas and oceans, composed prevail- 
ingly of salt water, upon the life of societies. 

Nearness to large bodies of water determines to a high degree, 
as has been seen (§ 1 1 3), the type of climate ; and the effect of the 
latter upon man has been sketched (§§ 142 ff.). Inasmuch, too, as 
the coast dwellers are not much above sea level, the factor of alti- 
tude also is to be considered (§§ 1 12, 162). Here, however, we wish 
to emphasize the importance of large bodies of water as sources of 
supplies of food, etc. ; and as constituting an environment which calls 
forth special (i.e. maritime) activities on the part of man. It is plain 
that the seacoast combines the productivity of land and water ; that 
dwellers near the sea have lived largely -from its spoils is attested 


by the prehistoric heaps of shells {kitchen-middens) found along the 
shores of many lands, and still in the process of formation in some 
regions like Tierra del Fuego. In addition, many instances could be 
given of whole societies which subsist largely upon the creatures of 
the sea ; for example, the Eskimo, the Polynesians, Northwest Indi- 
ans, and many other coast dwellers and islanders. Fishing was 
the occupation which led the northerly nations to the New World 
and motived the settlement of parts of it ; whole districts of New 
England once depended upon the cod and whale fishery for their 
livelihood. The denizens of the coasts have always had a fairly regu- 
lar supply of food open to them ; and the same thing may be said of 
the settlers along rivers, this constituting an additional motive for the 
early occupation of such regions (§ 166). 

The desire to appropriate the products of lakes and seas had a 
strong influence upon the type of industrial and social life. Pile- 
dwellings assembled to form aquatic villages date from antiquity, and 
are found in the lakes of Switzerland, on the coast of Venezuela (" little 
Venice"), of New Guinea, and elsewhere ; and doubtless one of the 
motives for such a life lay in the desire to " fish from one's doorstep 
in one's backyard." But this was a relatively unimportant result of 
life on shores of seas ; the prime significance attaches to the develop- 
ment of shipping, and of what has been called a " thalassic " as dis- 
tinguished, on the one hand from a " potamic," and on the other from 
an " oceanic " type of civilization and of trade. 

169. Water transportation. The reason why the ways of trade 
have been so largely water ways is simple enough : water is the one 
fluid yet supporting element widespread in nature. Being fluid, its 
molecules move upon each other with freedom, minimizing friction. 
And it will hold up or float many materials at man's disposal for the 
making of water vehicles. 1 Here it clearly outdoes the air. If he 

1 " Water carriage, by river, canal, or sea, is cheaper than land carriage, because 
the water itself bears the weight, and only motive power is needed. For instance, the 
same horse that could only draw one ton in a two-wheeled cart can draw forty tons 
in a barge ! Consequently, goods that are very heavy or of little value must be car- 
ried by water ; and this fact will for a long time impede the development of, e.g., cop- 
per mining in Australia, or iron mining in South Africa. The comparative cost of 
some different kinds of carriage may be estimated from a transaction which took 
place in 1892. A London merchant bought 200 tons of second-class flour in Liver- 
pool. Sending it to London by rail was out of the question, although the London 
and Northwestern Railway rates for through carriage between the two places are so 
small as to do little more than pay the cost of movement ; and the local sea rate was 
such a trifle less than the land rate that it paid the buyer to ship the flour from Liv- 
erpool to New York, and then from New York direct to London at through long- 
distance rates!" (Lyde, Comm. Geog., pp. 44-45). 


could have done so, man would long ago have taken to the latter 
element. It is clear, then, first of all, that a country with many nat- 
ural water ways is favored for the development of internal communi- 
cations. But the presence of natural water ways is due, of course, 
partially to the influence of local land forms. Hence the topic of 
local water ways (rivers and lakes) naturally follows upon a consider- 
ation of topography. 

Naturally, also, the first water ways to be used were the rivers, as 
being smaller and more sheltered; hence the term " potamic " as 
applied to the most primitive type of commerce. It is sometimes 
called "continental." Where the undergrowth was so thick as to be 
practically impenetrable, streams offered broad and smooth avenues 
for the passage of men and goods. Inland lakes augmented these 
facilities, 1 though the development of shipping amounted to little 
before it encountered salt-water conditions. It is when we come to 
an island-dotted or inclosed sea (thalassa, or mediterranean) that we 
observe the conditions which call into being commerce of a more 
than intermittent or local order. The only localities in America where 
the natives developed a seafaring life of a relatively high stamp were 
in the Arctic archipelago, on the northwest coast of North America, 
the southwest coast of South America, and in the Caribbean Sea. 
But the Americas, together with Africa and Australia, may well be 
said to have developed of themselves no external communications. 
In Asia the foci of ancient maritime activity were the Malay Archi- 
pelago, the China and Yellow seas, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. 
In the Pacific the Polynesians were almost forced to develop shipping 
and nautical skill of a relatively advanced type, in order to voyage 
from one small low-lying island to another. In Europe the Baltic and 
North seas saw the rise of the Vikings and the Hanseatics. But it 
was the Mediterranean Sea alone that was the cradle of modern com- 
merce and the school of modern navigation ; this sea, for the devel- 
opment of trade, possessed advantages over all the rest. The eastern 
Mediterranean and ^Egean, full of islands, afforded a fit stage for 
the operations of untrained and timorous mariners ; while toward the 
west progressively increasing distances between halting stations en- 
couraged seamen to bolder ventures as soon as they were ready to 
undertake them. Thus the Phoenicians, and the Greeks after them, 

1 It is estimated that lakes cover 0.9 per cent of the area of European Russia, 
1.3 per cent of that of the United States, 3 per cent of that of Norway and Ireland, 
and 8 per cent of that of Sweden. Their presence tempts men to learn to build 
craft ; even the negroes of the lake region of Central Africa are already above the 
lowest stages of shipbuilding. See Ratzel, Anth., I, 261 ; II, 109. 


were allured to the Strait of Gibraltar, and even beyond (§§194, 196). 
Along the trade routes thus formed grew the cities. No large city of 
ancient times was thinkable without a water way for the conveyance 
of provisions ; the speediest method of conquest was the severing of 
these arteries of trade. Island position, affording the greatest freedom 
of water communication, has been a conspicuous factor in the devel- 
opment of great commercial cities, for example, Tyre, Venice, Singa- 
pore, Bombay, New York. 1 For many centuries, however, the open 
ocean was shunned ; trade followed a composite route over inland 
seas and over land (§ 184). The ocean remained a barrier long after 
the seas had ceased, in ancient phrase, to "keep lands apart." 2 
This was not because coast navigation really demands less skill and 
hardihood than that of the high sea ; but because it makes less claim 
on what might be called moral courage. Many superstitions had to 
become antiquated, and many new ideas familiar, before mariners 
would brave the unknown. It was only about five hundred years 
ago that a persistent effort to utilize the open ocean as an avenue of 
communication began ; and with this came the development of an 
" oceanic civilization " and of commerce on a grander scale and in a 
world market. 

Parallel with this progressive utilization of greater water ways went 
a development of the water vehicle and the art of fitting it to harmo- 
nize with the demands of the medium in which it swam. The raft, 
coracle, punt, or canoe which was adequate for short voyages upon 
quiet waters needed improvements in order to be useful in a medi- 
terranean. Better advantage could here be taken of wind force ; and 
the art of sailing progressed with the strengthening of the craft 
against storms. Early navigation was done in the daytime only, and 
land was kept in sight ; sails were used only when the wind was 
astern. Later, however, night voyages were made, guided by a con- 
stellation or star, or by the angle made with the wave crests (Poly- 
nesia) ; and the possibility was conceived of sailing into the wind. 
All this demanded development of hull models and tackle. When, 
now, the mediterranean model was tried upon the ocean, new changes 
were found necessary (§ 5) ; the ocean-going type of vessel was 
evolved, and gradually perfected up to that of modern sailing craft. 
The application of steam again altered the water vehicle, in one way 

1 Ratzel, Anth., II, 477 ff. ; I, 99. 

2 " Nequiquam deus abscidit 

Prudens Oceano dissociabili 
Terras ..." 

Horace, Carminum I, iii, 21-2;. 


and another, to secure greater seaworthiness, more speed, less mo- 
tion, and so on. Study of the fluid element and the conditions of 
movement over its surface have gradually done away, as far as pos- 
sible — as was the case in respect to the land vehicle — with friction 
and waste. 

Land way and water way, land vehicle and water vehicle, have thus 
been modified toward each other, to secure the ease and rapidity of 
those communications of groups which, by breaking isolation, make 
for civilization. 

170. Coast line and harbors ; isolation. After treating inequalities 
of land and distribution of water, it is in place to consider the line 
where land and water meet — the coast line. Here is the scene, first 
of all, of one of the greatest struggles of man against hostile nature. 
"If it is correct to say that civilization can be developed only in the 
struggle with nature, then the contest with the sea must occupy one 
of the foremost places." 1 The draining of great swamps is something, 
but the wresting of dunes and even of the sea bottom from the ocean, 
in an "amphibian land " like Holland, is certainly a grandiose con- 
quest (§§ 21-25, 60). ^ 

In considering the coast line, however, chiefly from the standpoint 
of trade, it would be unfair not to reckon in with the coast the banks 
of rivers at least to the head of navigation in large vessels. Multi- 
plicity of navigable rivers replaces variegation of coast line, as in South 
America. 3 The contrast between the possibilities of penetration of 
North America, from the east and south, on the one hand, and from 
the west on the other, scarcely needs comment. The fact that the 
uncolored parts of maps, i.e. the unknown regions, have been those 
farthest from such coast irregularities is very significant. As the 
variegation of land surface by water and of water surface by land is 
favorable for communication, so is the irregularity of coast line (§22). 
Take the extreme cases of Africa and Europe. Africa is three times 
the size of Europe, yet its coast line is only about three fourths as long ; 
there are in Africa scarcely any natural harbors of the first class, 
while Europe numbers many that may be so called. 4 Having covered 

1 Ratzel, Anth., I, 259. ■ See Goethe, Faust, Part II, 6946 ff. (Schroers edition). 

J It is stated by Ratzel (Anth., I, 275) that Hudson did not identify the stream 
named after him as a river until he had ascended nearly to the present site of Albany. 

4 The Port Directory of the Shipping World Year Book (London, 1906) shows 
nearly a hundred European harbors (exclusive of those of the British Isles) of a high 
natural quality ; those which are largely artificial have not been counted. Of the Afri- 
can harbors in the same Directory, and of a comparable present utility, there are only 
about a dozen, of which five are Mediterranean, and at least half very largely artificial. 


the subject of land barriers and interior water ways, we are now in a 
position to develop this contrast further. Let us confine our attention 
to Africa south of the Sahara — " Darkest Africa." In all senses ex- 
cept the conventional geographical one, northern Africa belongs to 
Europe ; ever since the Mediterranean became a pathway of com- 
merce, it has joined north Africa with Europe rather than separated 
it apart. Regarding Africa south of the Sahara, in the first place the 
extent of ocean both east and west is unfavorable to approach by sea ; 

and the presence of deserts 
on the north and southwest 
impedes seriously any penetra- 
tion by land from the coast. 
The coast itself is relatively 
unbroken, affording but little 
protection for shipping or 
facility for disembarkation. 
In some localities, e.g. the 
Gulf of Guinea, the shelving 
shore is lashed by a surf which 
renders it necessary for ships 
to anchor in the open ocean 
two miles from land and de- 
pend upon the native lighters 
to deliver cargoes. In addition 
to these drawbacks to com- 
munication must be reckoned 
several others. Most of the 
important rivers have cata- 
racts or falls not far from their 
mouths, owing to the fact 
that they must needs descend 
abruptly from the great pla- 
teau which forms the interior of the continent. These, or other 
obstacles, effectively impede penetration and opening up of the in- 
terior. For instance, the Congo River is navigable only to Matadi 
(about 150 miles); then occur 200 miles of cataracts; the fact that 
above the falls there stretch over 1000 miles of splendid water way had 
naturally no advantageous bearing upon the opening of the interior 
until a railroad (the great conqueror of geographical barriers) could 
be built around the obstruction. Again, land communication in the 
heart of Africa is extremely arduous. The jungle or the tall grasses 

Southern Limit of old Egyptian 

Southern Limit of the use 
of the plow 

Southern Limit of the Extension 
of Mohammedanism 

Natural Limits of Penetration 

by River 


Isolation of Africa. (After Ratzel) 


are so luxuriant that the natives have never developed roads ; their 
paths, worn by the bare feet of generations, are only two or three feet 
wide, and are not infrequently mere tunnels through the tropical un- 
dergrowth. Taking all these things into consideration, — and there 
are many other minor details, * — it is no wonder that Africa, though 
known long before the Americas and Australia, has remained the 
"Dark Continent" through the ages. What penetration there was 
came from the direction of Egypt and Arabia ; the lines indicating 
the limits of Egyptian influence, the southern limit of the plow, and 
of Mohammedanism (fig. 26) clearly indicate the waves of foreign 
influence and the localities from which, like ripples on a pond, they 
spread. It is only within the last years that the large uncolored areas 
on the map of Africa have disappeared ; and even when they occur 
no longer, the occasion of disappearance is the necessity of political 
delimitation rather than exhaustive exploration. With the case of 
Africa may be compared in many respects those of Australia and 
South America, though the latter continent was fairly well known, 
being penetrable by way of its rivers, fifty years after its discovery ; 
contrasts with Europe, Asia, and North America are suggested at 
every turn and are sufficiently self-evident to be left to the reader's 

The foregoing consideration of the case of Africa gives concrete point to the 
idea of Ratzel 2 about the M inner side " and " outer side " of continents. Most of 
Africa was until recent times " outer side," i.e. faced away from the foci of civili- 
zation. When the Arabs began to sail the Indian Ocean the east coast became 
an " inner side " ; while at present, with the development of Atlantic trade, the 
west coast, and even the south, are more M inner side " than is the east. The cases 
of Australia and North America may with profit be considered from the same 
viewpoint. Curiously enough, because of the Spanish trade policy (§§ 208-209). 
the west coast of South America became the official " inner side " before the north 
and east, though the reversal of the natural order was strikingly shown by the 
wholesale development .of smuggling, especially in what are now Venezuela and 
Argentina. 8 

171. Miscellaneous factors ; summary. It may be useful, in order 
more fully to illustrate the determining influence of natural conditions 
upon the life of man, and so upon trade, briefly to indicate several 
other of these conditions and their results. Take the location of the 
ice line : the fact that Vladivostock harbor was frozen up for some 
three months in the year was one of the main reasons for the rise of 
Dalny, and for that attempt of the Russians to penetrate to the south 

iCf. Peschel, Races, pp.471 ff- 2 Anth., I, in. 

3 Cf. Keller, Colonization, pp. 245 ff., 317 ff. 


which brought on one of the most destructive wars of history. Prox 
unity to the open sea, or to ocean currents, is of great importance 
(§§ 18-19) 1 : the Labrador current keeps land in the latitude of Ire- 
land icebound for a large part of the year, while, under the indirect 
influence of the Gulf Stream, barley is ripened inside the arctic circle 
in Norway. Bordeaux is an open port when Sebastopol is icebound. 
A local coast stream aided Phoenician trade with Cyprus and Egypt ; 
and even at the present day large steamers follow the Gulf Stream 
from America to Europe. Take the case of the winds (§§ 1 01-102) : 
their presence or absence may mean that a section is healthful or 
noisome ; their power is almost indispensable to a country like 
Holland ; and their direction has largely determined the paths of 
ocean-going trade (§§ 114, 189-190). Take the presence of aquatic 
vegetation (Sargasso Sea, " sudd " in the Nile), the presence of fogs 
and icebergs on the " highroads of the sea " (Newfoundland Banks), 
etc. Of these factors, — and many others that will be suggested on 
reflection, — one and all exercise constant, even if local, influence 
upon the life of man and the course of trade (cf. §§15, 34, 88, 
92, 101, 105, and fig. 21). 

A comprehensive treatment of all such factors is manifestly imprac- 
ticable in this place, even if possible. Enough has been said, perhaps, 
to demonstrate the influence of conditions of environment upon the 
life and activities of man and of human society. We have seen how 
this influence may be exerted directly, forcing man to a direct and 
unconditional adaptation ; and how, in many other cases, environ- 
mental influences have awakened in man the power of intellectual 
adaptation — how man, by reflecting upon and studying nature, has 
been able artificially to perform adaptations which have secured his 
life, given him comfort, or rendered him able to attain his objects 
in a more economical manner (§ 139). The essential idea to carry 
away is the dependence of man, along with the rest of organic life, 
upon natural conditions. There is no danger that man will minimize 
his " power over nature," for his successes along this line are always 
before his mind and in his mouth, while failures are concealed or 
speedily forgotten. But there is great likelihood of his losing sight 
of the fact that he really "wins by yielding," that is, that his great- 
est " conquests over nature " really originate in skillful adaptation to 

1 The productions of those Eskimo who have access to abundant deposits of drift- 
wood (brought by the currents) are different from those of the tribes that lack 
wood ; and thereby is the whole life of the former more richly endowered. See 
Ratzel, Anth., II, 600, 


the action of natural forces and to the influence of natural conditions 

(§ MO- 

It will be observed that our instances taken to demonstrate this 
situation are largely derived from the earlier history of man. This is 
expedient, in order to make the contention clear. Viewing institutions 
in their simpler forms is like viewing a complex fraction in its lowest 
terms ; modern life is so complicated, so crossed with various lines 
of cause and effect, that it is all but impossible to grasp its relations 
unless they are carried back to the simpler forms from which they 
developed. We do not intend to assert that all isolated social facts 
can be explained by reference to the influence of environmentaL con- 
ditions alone ; for the structure has in generations been raised far 
above its foundations. Many a cornice and gargoyle may be added 
to a building with only distant reference to its fundamental structure. 
However, the solid walls of the edifice must follow closely the lines 
of its foundation, and the superstructure must surmount the walls, 
not empty space. We simply assert that environmental conditions 
such as we have described have been controlling conditions of human 
life and activities, and, among the latter, of trade. It is, in our view, 
indispensable for an understanding of commercial geography that the 
controlling influences which we have named, and others to which we 
shall refer, should be constantly kept in mind as the background upon 
which is evolved the immensely complicated mechanism of exchange. 
It is far from our purpose to treat this mechanism or its laws, — this 
is the function of the economist, — but we desire to exhibit trade as 
a specifically human activity in the prosecution of the struggle for 
existence. We have shown the distribution in nature of the mate- 
rials of commerce, together with modifications brought about by 
human art ; we have shown how different environments tend to 
modify the types of men — the producers, consumers, and distributors 
of these materials ; how men react in various ways on natural con- 
ditions, thus producing different types of civilization, all of which 
may be viewed as being in varying degree favorable or unfavorable 
to the development of trade. We now turn to an attempt to fix the 
distribution of these different types of civilization, hoping thus to map 
out more clearly the areas within which different types of commerce 
are found to operate. 



172. The leading commercial regions and races. Having treated 
of the influence of natural conditions on men, the agents of trade, it 
is our object in this chapter to cover the distribution of these human 
agents, as we have covered in the above the distribution of the other 
factors which control exchange. The common physical distinctions of 
race — color, stature, resistance to disease, etc. — will here give us 
little concern ; trade is not much affected by such qualities. One is as 
ready to sell to the African as to the Indian. What we wish to know 
about different peoples is their degree of productiveness, their capacity 
for consumption, and the like ; in a word, we wish to treat of the dis- 
tinction and distribution of men on the basis of their civilization. 
For the effectiveness of their participation in commercial operations 
will vary with the intellectual capacity of which their degree of civili- 
zation is a measure (§§ 139, 140). 

The great civilizations of the present, as of the past, are products 
of the temperate regions (§ 148) : Europe, the United States, Canada, 
and the higher regions of Mexico ; China and Japan ; South Africa ; 
Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil ; Australia, Tasmania, and 
New Zealand. Certain of these regions are behind the rest in develop- 
ment owing to the interference of other factors, e.g. isolation (§ 1 70) ; 
and when we consider the civilization of central Asia, of Ecuador, 
Peru, and other regions as yet remote from the highways of the world, 
this effect of isolation is the more extreme. The real centers of activity 
have lain along the seas and the ocean ; and their influence has pene- 
trated toward the interior where natural communications have existed 
or after the development of transportation. It will be noted also that 
all of these countries which are or have been colonies naturally enough 
represent for a long time a type less developed than that of their coun- 
tries of origin. In general, Europe represents civilization of a more 
settled and seasoned character, European colonies that of a more crude 
and youthful type. Again, the case of Oriental civilization stands 
apart, as one independently developed, but arrested far back in history, 
so far as advance in control over nature is concerned. In mapping 



out the distribution of these peoples, then, we hope at the same 
time to locate the chief centers of trade development (see fig. 21 
and § 198). 

The other areas of commerce fall into a subject relation to these. 
Neither the cold zones nor the torrid have ever seen the origin of a 
more than local production and exchange, for they have never exhib- 
ited a civilization of any perfection. This is impossible of development 
in the arctic regions, for they are inhabited by a scanty population 
living on the very edge of things ; nor in the torrid zone, inasmuch 
as its sometimes teeming peoples, owing to natural conditions, lack the 
qualities necessary for an independent advance in culture (§ 147). 
Both regions have become economically subject to the temperate re- 
gions as soon as the inhabitants of the latter have begun to display 
energy outside their own climatic habitat. 

This broad classification of men on the basis of their civilization 
agrees to a considerable extent with the common classifications based 
upon color and correlative characters. The areas of civilization are the 
homes of the white and of the yellow race ; while the tropics are the 
natural home of what is left of the black, brown, and " red " races. 
The arctic races, again, are prevailingly Mongolian. Where any one 
of the "lower" types did originally hold temperate areas (America; 
South Africa ; Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand), they have yielded 
with comparatively little resistance to the encroachments chiefly of 
the whites. The upshot of the whole matter seems to be that the 
whites are better adapted to temperate regions, and that the " lower " 
types have little chance to persist except in the cold and warm ones. 
The yellow race seems to have little difficulty in acclimatization in 
any region. 

173. Population and civilization. It is often asserted in this book 
that civilization is a product of numbers, and naturally the converse is 
true ; to put it in another way, there is a close correlation between the 
growth of population and the advance of material civilization. That 
which arrests the growth of population retards the advance of civiliza- 
tion. Hence we should never expect to find great density of popula- 
tion outside of the temperate zones (§§ 147, 148), nor at great elevations 
(§§ 51, 162), nor in other locations unfavorable to man's "conquest 
over nature." By way of getting concrete facts before the reader, cer- 
tain rough estimates of the density of population on the several stages 
of the arts — these stages representing in large part a reflection of 
environing physical conditions — are quoted from Ratzel's Anthropo- 
geography. 1 

1 Anth., II, 264-265. 


Inhabitants Per (English) Square Mile 

Hunting and fishing tribes in the outermost regions of the inhab- 
ited world (Eskimo) 0.005-0.015 

Hunting tribes of the steppe regions (Bushmen, Patagonians, Aus- 
tralians) 0.005-0.025 

Hunting tribes with some agriculture, or deriving support from 

tillers (Indians, Dyak, Papuans, poorer negro tribes, Batwa) . 0.5-2 
Fisher tribes on coasts and rivers (Northwest Americans, inhab- 
itants of small Polynesian islands) up to 5 

Nomadic herdsmen 2-5 

Tillers, with the beginnings of crafts and trade (inner Africa, Malay 

Archipelago) 5-15 

Nomads with agriculture (Kordofan, Sennaar) 10-15 

Mohammedan countries in western Asia and the Sudan .... 10-25 
Fisher tribes practicing agriculture (Pacific islands) . . up to 25 
New countries with European agriculture, or climatically disadvan- 
taged European countries 25 

Purely agricultural regions of central Europe 100 

Purely, agricultural regions of southern Europe 200 

Regions of commingled agriculture and manufacture 250-300 

Purely agricultural regions of India over 500 

Regions of European large-scale manufacture over 750 

Thus, if armed with the apparatus of a higher civilization, thousands of men can 
live well in a region formerly affording a meager livelihood to a few families of 
hunters and fishers. Without going further into detail, the general aspects of the 
matter of population may be assembled something as follows : population increases 
immensely with advance of the arts; that of Europe doubled between 1800 and 
1887 (rising from 1 75,000,000 to 350,000,000) ; while in the immediately preceding 
period it needed over a hundred years to accomplish this feat. It would now need 
little over fifty years. The Old World contains about 90 per cent of all men, the 
great areas of the Americas, Australia, and Polynesia harboring not over 7 or 8 
per cent. Nearly three-quarters of the world's population live in Europe, India, 
and China, the other six-sevenths of the earth containing only about 500,000,000; 
yet the new countries represent areas capable of providing well for several thousand 
millions. Of the earth's surface only about 1 per cent shows 400 or over per square 
mile, and only about 6 per cent from 100 to 400. 

Similarly on a less cosmic scale : the patches of population density are scattered, 
a large part of them being represented by the 75,000,000 and more people lo- 
cated in cities of over 50,000 inhabitants. In Europe, Saxony and Belgium show 
500 and over per square mile, and a descending scale, explained by environment 
and occupation, is: Russia, 50; Sweden, 28: Finland, 17; Norway, 16; Ice- 
land, I.8. 1 

The increase of population means not alone density but also sta- 
bility, and that which is stable is always conducive to culture." 2 But 
the fundamental factors of environment which condition the advance 

iCf. Ratzel, Anth., II, 228 ff., 281, et passim. 2 Ibid., II, 285. 


of numbers and culture should never be lost sight of in amazement 
over the successes of man. Consider the influence of the distribution 
of the grains alone (cf. §§ 157, 216 ff.) — they reach in general from 
the equator to 70 degrees north latitude, and of the following more 
specific limits each has its own conditioning effect upon population 
and culture : rice extends from the equator to the line of 54 degrees 
of mean annual temperature (§§ 117, 118), maize to 50 degrees, wheat 
to 43, barley to 36. "The density of population is therefore ... a 
measure of the biologic intensity of the earth." J 

One further type of natural conditions, the human or social envi- 
ronment, must receive brief notice as bearing upon the question of 
population. Since the backward races do not migrate, at least not 
from continent to continent, to any great extent, any alien human en- 
vironment in which they come to be placed will be formed by colo- 
nizing peoples ; and these are almost exclusively of European origin. 
In the matter of brain adaptation to natural conditions, with a conse- 
quent increase of civilization, Europe easily leads the world and has 
led for centuries. Europe is actually succeeding in impressing her 
special type of civilization upon the world — even upon larger nations 
that once had a long start over her. Europeans, however, do not mi- 
grate in great numbers except to other, and generally only sparsely 
occupied, parts of the temperate zone — the so-called new countries. 
It is here that the large-scale effects of contact with native races are 
most in evidence. Not to go into detail of such contact, its effect 
upon these native races has been most disastrous ; they have fallen 
before the strangers as their own local flora and fauna have declined 
before the " fitter " plants and animals introduced by the whites. The 
physical environment about them has been altered and they have not 
possessed the power of adaptation to novel conditions ; it is quite com- 
prehensible that they should have suffered from "home-sickness." 2 
Hence, after the settlement of new temperate countries is well under 
way, the local population may be ignored as a factor in trade. 

1 Rated, Anth., II, 206, 208. 

- This whole matter is discussed in Keller's Colonization, Chap. I and pp. 257 ff. It 
is a wholesome warning to those who wish to " influence " native peoples, to note that 
the most benevolent purposes may utterly fail of good results. The Kirghiz blame 
their impoverishment through purchase of grain, and their more frequent famines, 
to the trade which enticed them from their old occupations. Their former status was 
one of satisfactory adaptation to their life conditions ; the later one was not. Again, 
it was a bad thing when race benefactors freed the Hawaiians from the possession of 
their chiefs, for the latter had forced them to labor, which was good for them, and 
had then assured them of maintenance, of which they were, under the new conditions 
promoting idleness, bereft. Cf. Ratzel, Anth., II, 351. 


174. The commercial races. If now we attempt to characterize our 
types of civilization on the basis of their participation in trade, we find 
that commerce of any high degree of development belongs, as one 
would expect, to the yellow, and especially to the white race. Taking 
all the races, we can distinguish roughly two extremes — the highly 
civilized and the uncivilized types. With the former type and its ac- 
tivity all are familiar, for it is always before our eyes. It represents 
the ceaseless accumulation of power over nature — ever-increasing pro- 
duction, increased and widely diversified consumption, and, of a con- 
sequence, ever busier exchange. This is the type represented by the 
progressive states of Europe, and by the temperate colonies in Amer- 
ica, Africa, and Australia which these states have founded or to whose 
growth they have contributed. It is not surprising, then, if the bulk of 
the world's trade is effected by the mutual " latitudinal " exchanges of 
these advanced peoples (fig. 22), brought about by division of labor and 
specialization between nations (§ 181). The Mongolian trader, while 
lacking in no respect in business enterprise and sagacity, has practiced 
in general an undeveloped species of trade, corresponding to phases 
passed through by the European nations long since. His entrance into 
the modern world market in a less subsidiary capacity has been largely 
due to his adoption of occidental methods. 

175. The non-commercial races ; the " native." A thoroughgoing 
contrast to European trade development is offered by the case of the 
uncivilized peoples. In the cold regions a hard life is lived from day 
to day, and there can be no division of labor producing surplus availa- 
ble for exchange. The very scarcity of population prevents these re- 
gions from entering to any extent into the trade of the world. A 
few furs are exported and unimportant quantities of goods, manufac- 
tured and other, are received in return ; this kind of frontier trade is 
of little importance to our subject. When, however, we consider the 
case of the tropics, the real and the possible function of the " native " 
in the world's commerce cannot be dismissed thus summarily. The 
reason for this is that the tropics form tempting regions both of sup- 
ply and of demand for the producers and consumers of cooler zones. 
The disposition of their inhabitants has thus been, and still is, of 
great significance for trade (cf. § 147). It is not necessary to go into 
detail here concerning the general character of "native" peoples; 
let us consider them in the light merely of producers and consumers ; 
let us see how they fit or do not fit into the organization of the world's 
commerce. This is for them a very vital matter, it might be added, 
though they are naturally not aware of the fact (§ 177)- 


As an independent producer the average native of the tropics 
amounts to little or nothing. The effects of the climate, with that at- 
tendant and continuous luxuriance of nature, which relieve the struggle 
for existence of severity, render a tropical population, however dense 
it may be, less energetic and less provident than that of colder and 
more variable climates. Steady labor for many hours together is prob- 
ably physically impossible in the tropics, even for a native ; part of 
the day is regularly reserved for relaxation or sleep (§§ 143-145). 
Again, the expenditure of brief effort at considerable intervals is, 
under natural conditions, amply sufficient to afford satisfactory support. 
The productivity of the breadfruit tree secured by brief labor has been 
instanced above (§ 147) ; in certain tropical regions a worker needs 
about a dozen bananas per diem, and the bearing power of the banana 
is very great. About 1 840 in the Hawaiian Islands a man could live 
on food worth only two or three cents a day ; shipwrecked sailors got 
along very well for the same period on a cocoanut apiece. Little ef- 
fort is necessary to provide the scanty clothing and the flimsy dwell- 
ings of the tropical peoples. Life being thus easy, the economic motive 
to effort in production is almost totally absent ; were it not for the 
existence, in marked form, of vanity, the case would be still worse. 
1 [aving but few wants, and these easily satisfied, the native naturally 
sees no use in steady labor, and in the accumulation of stored resource 
against the struggle for existence, i.e. capital. He speedily readies 
the point where extra exertion ceases to afford a return proportionate 
to the discomfort of the extra effort ; and so he stops. Animal com- 
fort for the moment and a little satisfaction of vanity are often his 
only objects ; he lives from day to day, and lets the future take care of 
itself. Economic incitements to further achievement meet an immense 
and stolid inertia ; the ceaseless and fevered activity of civilized peo- 
ples impresses the native as folly, for he cannot understand its motives 
if he would. Hence the only system under which the tropics in gen- 
eral have been drawn into the trade of the world has been that of 
supervision and direction by the more active races, with the object 
of stimulating production. How and with what success this has been 
accomplished we shall presently see. 

The tropical " natives," left to their own initiative, have produced 
no commercial supply region of any importance ; and they have 
afforded as little satisfaction to traders in constituting a region of de- 
mand for the products of civilization. The same circumscribed char- 
acter of their wants which has limited their own production has 
determined the feebleness of their demand for the products of others. 


They demand practically no food products from without, and only such 
materials for clothing and ornament as happen to catch their fancy. 
There is some call for improved tools, more for improved deadly 
weapons ; and there is usually a strong demand for intoxicants (§ 1 54). 
Europeans, with an eye to their own safety and for humanitarian 
reasons, have been unwilling to supply firearms and alcohol, and, as a 
result, the tropical demand region has been further restricted and its in- 
habitants further excluded from participation in the world's commerce. 

Thus, left to themselves, the uncivilized peoples of the hot zones 
manifest but little disposition to emerge from their undeveloped state, 
or to react further upon environmental conditions, to which, as far as 
their comfort goes, they are satisfactorily enough adapted. If let alone, 
they continue to produce and exchange within restricted localities and 
on a small scale ; each little group is self-sufficient and indifferent to 
the life of others. Natives might have gone on in this way for cen- 
turies had it not been for the general irruption, commencing about the 
end of the fifteenth century, of the white man into the tropics. This 
constituted, in reality, the collision of two quite distinct civilizations 
with all their characteristic qualities. Our concern is, however, to 
determine the effect of this movement upon the redistribution of 
areas of civilization and so of commerce. 

176. Slavery and emancipation. In their attempt to make use of 
their tropical possessions the invaders speedily found that they them- 
selves were prevented from actual labor, even if they had wished to 
engage in it, by the impossibility of speedy acclimatization (cf. §§ 143- 
145). Several centuries have not materially altered this situation. If, 
now, the tropics were to be developed, — and this has been a premise 
little short of axiomatic, — then an acclimatized race must do it. The 
expedient nearest at hand for the accomplishment of this end was en- 
slavement of the natives, which accordingly took place all but univer- 
sally. To a certain degree this eventually placed the control of the 
natives' productivity in the hands of the whites, and the newly occu- 
pied regions took their place in the world-market. To a certain degree 
they responded under pressure to the world's demand. This forced 
production was sometimes extremely hard on the natives, who in 
many cases sank beneath the burdens of a system to which they were 
totally unfitted ; in other cases the mere obligation to labor seems to 
have done them good rather than harm. Abuses connected with the 
system of slavery, however, together with a growing distaste for it on 
the part of the nations of the cooler zones, led, between 1800 and 
1870, to its general abolition. 


The result of this move was to throw tropical production back upon 
the volition of the native, and it cannot be said that his centuries of 
forced labor had taught him to be much more industrious than before. 
The general result bearing upon the distribution of trade areas was 
something as follows : before the tropical planter lay several alterna- 
tives, namely, ruin ; adoption of a new productive force (machinery, 
etc.); evasion of the prohibition of compulsory labor. Many producers 
lost everything ; some struggled along with an irregular and intermit- 
tent labor supply under the wage system ; a few could surmount the 
great difficulties of the introduction of machinery; a certain propor- 
tion managed somehow to evade the prohibition. As the demand for 
tropical products has increased with the development of civilization 
and trade, the pressure upon the tropical producers has become more 
insistent. In some few cases the natives have been induced, too often 
under incitement of their baser desires, to labor for wages. Alcohol, 
for example, has been supplied to some as the only effective induce- 
ment ; some planters have actually preferred bibulous laborers, for, 
whereas the sober native can earn enough in a few weeks to meet all 
his needs for a year, the one addicted to drink quickly squanders his 
wages and then is led to resume his work after a shorter interval. 
And a great deal of evasion has likewise been practiced, some of it 
constituting direct infringement of law and some of it cloaked with 
more or less plausible justification. 

177. Substitute labor supplies. Loss of labor supply was met, in 
some places, by a form of substitution called the coolie system. There 
are in India, and in Java and environs, certain tropically acclimatized 
tribes which are, by exception, fairly industrious ; and to these should 
be added the Chinese, a people proverbially laborious and parsimoni- 
ous, and seemingly able to endure all climates. To supply the loss of 
the slaves, large numbers of these coolies were imported by tropical 
planters under a system of contract and wages. At the expiration of 
their contracts they were to be restored to their native countries, unless 
they wished to renew their agreements or to settle in the foreign land. 
Great hopes were entertained as to the success of this substitution. 
1 lowever, there were unforeseen difficulties of a political and social na- 
ture ; the presence of large numbers of coolies, together with the free 
and generally vagabond negroes, constituted a menace to the scattered 
whites, and many complaints were made of the immorality of the Asi- 
atics. It was also asserted that the coolies were virtually enslaved, 
that the system was really an evasion of the laws against servitude, 
that contracts were violated, workmen intimidated, and so on. It was 


on the score of these latter indictments that the system, rightly or 
wrongly, fell to pieces. Toward the end of the nineteenth century 
England and Holland (controlling India and Java) and China, which 
had always opposed the system, blocked the further export of coolies. 1 

Charges of hypocritical dealing were made by other nations whose 
interests were thus assailed ; but the system of substitution came to 
an end notwithstanding. What the English and Dutch did with their 
own laborers we shall presently see. The situation was thus restored 
to its former state of dependence upon the local labor supply, with re- 
sults as already described. Some peoples with tropical dependencies, 
notably the Germans, have taken recourse to a theoretic defense of 
" compulsory labor, " — a kind of slavery under a more palatable name, 
— which is probably widespread at the present time in certain parts of 
the earth. The theoretic defense is plausible enough and rests in good 
part upon scientific considerations. The contentions are (i) that the 
native has no right to pass his time in idleness while his betters are 
at work, and that the latter are not bound at their own inconvenience 
to leave him undisturbed ; (2) that it is a good thing for the native 
to have to labor, for labor and accumulation are the bases of civilization 
(this view assuming the self-evident value of what we call civilization) ; 
(3) that the only chance for native peoples is to fall in with the system 
of the predominant races, whether they will or not ; if they do not, 
nothing but decline and extinction lies before them, as the world fills 
up. As usual, the excellences of this system, easily developed on paper, 
fail to appear in the working out ; compulsory labor is, in practice, open 
to most of the objections urged against a regular system of slavery. 

178. Race mixture. There is one more expedient for creating 
within the tropics a population capable of bringing these regions into 
full participation in world-commerce ; and that is, through the mixing 
of races. Certain French writers are theoretical champions of this 
expedient. Experience has demonstrated its futility, however, as a 
general policy. In the first place, it is extremely difficult, if not im- 
possible, to maintain a mongrel race ; the predominance of the one or 
the other constituent element tends in time to cause reversion toward 
one or the other component type, thus reducing the situation to its 
original form. Again, the mongrel groups that have been produced 
in the tropics have failed to exhibit the expected excellences, though 
they have generally resisted the climate better than the pure whites. 

1 A somewhat analogous importation of Pacific islanders into Queensland was pro- 
hibited by act of Parliament in 1890 because it so closely resembled a regular slave 


This is particularly the case when the uniting races are far apart on 
the scale of civilization. Probably the best mongrels are those formed 
by such fusion as that of the Chinese with the natives of the Malay 
Archipelago, as, for instance, the Chinese mestizos of the Philippines. 
The mixture on the grand scale of Spanish and Indian blood in Cen- 
tral and South America cannot be said to have been a success in its 
results, if we judge by the past and present of the Spanish Ameri- 
can republics. We do not reckon the mulattoes of this country as an 
important element of our national strength. It is often said that the 
cross-races combine the bad points of the two constituents and lack 
the good points of both ; this is doubtless too strong, but it is a fact 
that past experience affords little ground for believing that progress 
in the development of the tropics can be much furthered by the 
attempt to produce a mixed race. 

179. Non-development of the tropics. It should also be stated that, 
even under a system of beneficent slavery, no development of the 
tropics at all comparable with that of the temperate zone was attained. 
The inefficiency of slave labor has been often described ; where the 
civilized man could work and reproduce his kind, i.e. in the temperate 
or cool zones, it could never compete with free labor. This is one of 
the chief reasons for the non-development of slavery in temperate 
regions, and for the growth there of an ethical sentiment which 
finally secured its universal abolition. The case is briefly this : the 
slave has no personal incentive ; of a consequence his labor is half- 
hearted and unintelligent, depending for its effectiveness upon con- 
stant supervision and incitement. Some races, notably the American, 
have refused to submit to slavery, at least to that of the " plantation " 
type ; the Indians preferred death to such servitude. The only race 
which has ever generally submitted to the system is the negro race. 
But even the most docile of the negroes, whose light-hearted, childlike 
characters, as well as their strong bodies and constitutions adapted to 
tropical conditions, seem to have marked them out as destined to serve 
their conquerors, never constituted a reliable, productive body at all 
able to equal the achievements of free white labor in the cooler 
regions. The very qualities which made them better slaves consti- 
tuted antitheses to the disposition which animated the creators of 
the world's civilization and trade ; for the latter have been charac- 
terized by persistence, self-denial, foresight, and so on. 

Thus, taking the tropics as a whole, they have not been and do not 
seem likely soon to be drawn into full participation in the world's civ- 
ilization, and, more specifically, in its production and exchange. One 


partial exception must, however, be noted. Some of the tropical races, 
as we have seen, were able to furnish a substitute labor supply to 
countries whose natives were, for reasons just mentioned, unavailable 
(§ 175). These peoples (chiefly from India and Java) stand upon a 
stage of civilization considerably in advance of that of other tropical 
peoples. This is manifested in part by a better developed system of 
government, or subordination to rules. The result of this subordi- 
nation has been that the peoples in question have been for ages under 
a system of compulsory labor for their chiefs. For this and other 
reasons they have evolved a more laborious disposition than that of 
the other tropical peoples, more foresight, and a more developed 
desire for accumulation. To a certain degree, therefore, they form 
an exception to the generalization that tropical peoples will not vol- 
untarily cooperate in the economic development of the tropics. Un- 
questionably, India has entered very genuinely into world-commerce. 
However, it seems likely that the effectiveness of the activity of such 
peoples has been exaggerated ; indeed, one of the objections to the 
coolie system (§ 177) was that the results were not proportionate to 
the effort, expenditure, and political dangers involved. The general- 
ization regarding the economic ineffectiveness of the tropical peoples, 
despite partial exceptions, still holds ; there seems to be little hope at 
present of adequately developing these regions at the hands of the 
natives or of the whites. 

One other present possibility, however, exists. It has been seen 
that some of the members of the other race of temperate regions — 
the Mongolian — adapt themselves with slight inconvenience to a 
variety of climates. The Chinese have made effective coolies and are 
now the best free-labor force applicable to the development of the hot 
regions. They have to a marked degree the qualities to be desired 
— laboriousness, frugality, foresight, etc. — and, at the same time, in- 
telligence and a business sense. Where there exists an at all available 
native labor supply, these Asiatics are found to be the best of over- 
seers, for they understand the condition of the native better and are 
not often physically incapacitated, as are the whites. The same may 
be said of the Japanese, although their activities along these lines have 
been much more restricted. Unfortunately for the economic present 
of the tropics, however, strong prejudice, partially justifiable and mainly 
not, has existed and still exists against the Chinese. They are hated, as 
the Jews have been hated, because of their successes ; because of their 
oppression as money lenders, etc. ; because they are clannish and have 
no "public spirit," wishing only to gather wealth and return home; 


and because, as some have maintained, with, as it seems, but slight 
justification, they are, according to modern standards, highly immoral. 
With the discussion of these questions we have nothing to do ; the 
actual status of the case is that few tropical countries are likely soon 
to be developed through Chinese labor. We therefore return again 
to our conviction that the tropics enter but slightly into the world- 
commerce, because they are as yet, and must long remain, regions of 
little or no civilization. 

180. Types of the agents of trade. The general topic of the chapter 
having been, then, the distribution of the human race upon the basis 
of its civilization, we may distinguish, in a general way, several types ; 
our prominent criteria are climatic environment and degree of isola- 
tion. The types are four in number, and are very uneven as respects 
numerical representation : (1) The type represented by those races of 
the temperate zone, which, by reason of favorable situation, have been 
enabled to develop, compare, borrow, and accumulate civilization ; 
these are the inhabitants of western and southern Europe, of southern 
Canada and most of the United States, of Japan and of southern 
Australasia. (2) That more backward or undeveloped type repre- 
sented by the inhabitants of isolated areas of temperate regions : 
eastern Europe ; portions of Canada and Mexico ; Alaska ; China ; 
southern Siberia ; western Asia ; southern Africa ; southern Brazil ; 
Argentina and environs, and Chile ; interior of Australia. (3) The 
fairly productive tropical or subtropical type : northern Africa ; West 
Indies ; coast regions of Brazil ; Polynesia ; Malay Archipelago ; In- 
dia ; Farther India. (4) The peoples of as yet unavailable regions of 
extreme heat and cold. The combinations of the above-mentioned 
criteria are as follows: in (1), favorable climate and non-isolation; 
in (2), favorable climate with isolation ; in (3), unfavorable climate 
and modified isolation ; in (4), unfavorable climate and extreme iso- 
lation. The element of isolation tends to pass away with the devel- 
opment of means of communication, while the climatic element is, 
so far as our knowledge goes, permanent ; thus (2) tends to pass 
into (1) and disappear. 



181. Specialization and cooperation. After having in preceding 
pages considered the influence of typical environmental conditions 
upon man and his civilization, we have been enabled roughly to indi- 
cate the geography of trade as determined by the human factor — by 
man, the producer, purveyor, and consumer. Returning now to the 
characteristic power of reaction upon environment shown by human 
societies (§§ 1 39-141), we wish to exhibit trade itself as a form of 
such reaction, that is, as an expedient in the struggle for existence 
and for higher standards of living. 

If every person made entire provision for his own wants, there 
would be no reason for the existence of trade, as between individuals ; 
if every limited group of men were similarly self-sufficient, there would 
be no reason for trade between groups ; if nations and races wanted 
articles of local production only, there could be no international or 
world trade. The very existence of trade implies varieties of wants 
and varieties of want-supplying occupations, distributed in no strict 
correspondence with each other among individuals, groups, and 
peoples. That which leads to this lack of self-sufficiency in individu- 
als or societies is an evolved economy of effort, as represented by divi- 
sion of labor or differentiation of function. In the case of individuals, 
all this means that each producer shall bring forth that which he can 
produce with the least pain and effort, or with the most satisfaction 
to himself ; also, that through continued practice in the same occupa- 
tion he may, as a result of experience and the concentration of atten- 
tion, become progressively more expert in his occupation, that is, 
develop a better product at a constantly decreasing cost of material, 
energy, and time. If we all had to make our own shoes, clothing, 
hats, etc., we should, as we say, waste a great deal of time and force 
for, on the average, very poor results. Suppose A, B, C, and D made 
severally their own weapons, tools, clothing, and shelters. Let x be 
a unit of energy, and suppose each expends 2^x a year in making 
weapons, and 2$x each in making tools, clothing, and houses. The 



total for each individual would be then iocur. Now if each could 
choose one specialty and neglect the other three, in the course of 
events he would gain dexterity, skill, and experience. Perhaps 2C\r 
concentrated would suffice to do what 25,1' scattered had done. If so, 
and if one unit of each of the four classes of products could be ex- 
changed on even terms for one unit of any of the others, the annual 
expenditure of energy per specializing person would be 8cu' instead 
of iocu', and at the same time the quality of the product would stead- 
ily improve. The 2CXr saved might be used for a number of purposes, 
tending to increase present comfort or augment future power over 
nature. This represents a great advantage in the struggle for exist- 
ence. The Jack-of-all-trades is an interesting rather than a useful 
member of society ; Robinson Crusoe's outfit was picturesque in its 
setting, and well adapted to its purpose, considering the difficulties 
under which he is reported to have labored, but, as compared with 
the products of specialized and skilled industry, Crusoe's tools, cloth- 
ing, and other possessions were extremely crude, and were produced 
at a great expenditure of time and energy. 

The economy of effort secured by a division of labor may be, like- 
wise, of the greatest importance to a group or society of men as well 
as to the individual. Suppose that A, B, C, and D constitute a group, 
and that each member supplies himself with food, clothing, shelter, 
and tools, spending an annual effort represented by y in the process. 
The total expenditure of the group would then be 4y a year. If, now, 
the several occupations were divided among the workers of the group, 
each would learn by practice and experience to perform his specialty 
with greater ease and skill ; he would save effort represented, say, by z. 
The expenditure of effort for the group, then, would be reduced by 4,:. 
The greater the specialization and acquired skill, the greater would z 
become. Also, taking y to represent expenditure of time (instead of 
effort), the same result would emerge ; instead of an original expendi- 
ture of 4y we should find a lowered one of 4y — 4s. But the 4^ of 
time or energy not absolutely required for creature-wants represents 
the possibility of leisure, reflection, invention, and a number of other 
factors of prime importance in the development of civilization. Such 
economy, being as distinct an advantage in the struggle for existence 
as the power to put forth more force, would speedily become an object 
of selection ; or, looked at in another way, it would soon be discovered 
by the adaptive human mind, and put into operation (§§ 135, 139). 
The very lowest tribes of men, and even some of the animals, have 
long practiced it on a more or less reduced scale. 


However, as must already have been noted, this result would be 
impracticable without the development of exchange of products be- 
tween the specializing producers, either individual or collective — 
that is, of trade. Commerce stands, therefore, as an expedient in the 
struggle for existence, as a form of rational (or even unconscious) 
adaptation to the exigencies of physical environment. The skilled 
old arrow maker trades his flint points for the booty of the chase, and 
both he and the vigorous hunter gain advantage from the exchange, 
in the preservation of their lives and in the elevation of their stand- 
ards of comfort. Naturally, however, it is not individual specialization 
and exchange between individuals that interest us in the present con- 
nection ; trade really worthy of the name comes out of group speciali- 
zation and inter-group exchange. 

182. Trade and war. The fact that the advantage of specialization 
and exchange is mutual early impressed itself upon the instincts or 
reason of men, and gradually brought into prominence the practice 
and ideal of cooperation, as between individuals and groups. But to 
bring about such a development took time and the enlistment of strong 
interests. The earliest mutual relations of men were more likely to 
be those of strife and war, their attitude that of mutual hostility and 
suspicion ; the first meeting of groups took place, not in the market, 
but on the battle field, or rather, on the hunting ground, for early man 
made a quarry and a meal of his slain fellow. It is instructive to note 
that early trade was so often an alternative to war, and that it retained 
many marks of its association with that ruder form of pursuing the 
struggle for existence which it gradually came to supersede. 

In war, in a general way, one party gained what the other lost ; but, 
especially if the contestants were evenly matched, the losses of both 
were considerable, in men and in things. Instead of cooperating against 
nature in the struggle for life, group strained with group to wrest away 
any special advantage already secured in the form of organization and 
capital. War meant a general destruction of advantage in the struggle 
for existence, an annihilation of energy stored against the battle of life. 
Doubtless militarism taught discipline, the great lesson of human 
life, as nothing else did ; doubtless much that was developed for war- 
like ends came later to serve industrial development. But as compared 
with peaceful trade, war was undoubtedly wasteful and uneconomic, 
and made against the development of civilization. It was natural 
enough in the early ages when men knew no better, for of course one 
group was not willing to give its products in exchange for those of 
another when it could take the latter for nothing ; and for long ages 


of the world the question whether war or trade should be put into 
operation in a given situation depended very largely upon the relative 
strength of the groups in question. Even the Phoenicians, when in 
force, pillaged and burned ; if their prospective " customers " outnum- 
bered them, they sought an almost equal advantage in peaceful, if 
tricky, trade (§§ 194, 195). For centuries, piracy and peaceful trade 
were two phases of the same general operation. 1 In fact, it has taken 
ages to drive home even a faint and halting realization of the fact that 
cooperation is more apt to man's situation on earth than a system of 
hostility and cross-purposes. In the Middle Ages it was widely believed 
that only one party to a bargain gained, though the practice of the 
actual trader completely negatived the view. Economic systems of a 
much more modern age witness for the survival and periodic re- 
animation of the same belief; with trade restrictions and tariff wars 
abounding, it is still hard to persuade mankind of the superiority of 
cooperation over strife (§§ 207 ff.). 

Several instances of early forms of trade may be adduced to show the intimate 
relationship in point of alternation between war and trade, between suspicious 
hostility and confidence and cooperation. Among certain African tribes, exchange 
is made with weapons poised, the parties approaching and returning from each 
other's presence in crouching posture — ready to pounce or to flee — and in the 
most suspicious frame of mind. The tendency, however, is plainly toward peace : 
there are in certain tribes professional exchangers, trained to the function from 
childhood, whose persons are inviolate in the midst of general hostility and vio- 
lence ; very often the women are the tribal specialists in trade. Further, out of 
centuries of strife over the possession of mines of native wealth, such as flint de- 
posits or salt works, there develops the custom of " peaceful access " under some 
sort of recognition dues. Peace was maintained by the Indians in the sacred terri- 
tories of the red pipestone. In primitive or partially developed societies, also, it is 
found that in the regions and during the periods of the holding of markets or 
fairs warfare is suspended and violence repressed ; and so on. Perhaps the most 
significant evidence of the passing of violence and robbery into peaceful exchange 
is afforded by the so-called custom of " silent barter," " deposit barter," or " dumb 
trade," a custom found here and there over the earth up to the present day, but 
perhaps most clearly set forth in the earliest historical account of which we know, 
that of Herodotus (Book IV, 196). He tells how the Carthaginians used to trade 
with the natives of the northwest African coast, under conditions where the parties 
to the exchange apparently did not dare to come within striking distance of each 
other. The Carthaginians upon reaching the coast were accustomed to signalize 
their presence to the natives with columns of smoke. Meanwhile, their wares were 
disembarked upon the shore and they themselves returned to the ships. The 
natives, venturing down to the sea, examined the articles and placed beside them 
such of their own possessions as they were willing to give in exchange : then they 

1 " Krieg, Handel und Piraterie, 

Dreieinig sind sie, nicht zu trennen." 

Goethe, Faust, Part II, 6574-6575 (Schroer's edit.). 


also retired. The traders, returning, either accepted the native goods, in which 
case they removed them to the ships and departed, or rejected the amount as 
insufficient by returning to the ships and awaiting further offers by the natives. 
The natives might then add to their deposit until the quantity and quality desired 
by the traders was reached, and the latter accepted the terms as above indicated. 
On reading this description for the first time a dual query rises in the mind : 
Why did not the parties to the trade actually meet and dicker? Why did neither 
party decamp with the other's goods ? Evidently they did not meet and barter 
because they did not dare to do so ; the long-distance system here developed is 
clearly an evidence of the suspicion and distrust engendered by an antecedent 
period of warfare and pillage. And neither party reverted to such methods be- 
cause there was more to be gained by a series of peaceful exchanges than by one 
or two violent robberies, followed by a cessation of intercourse. Here again is 
emphasized the economy, in the long run, of trade over force ; thus is cooperation 
through exchange demonstrated to be an expedient apter than violence in the 
struggle for existence. 

The whole history of man has served to bring out more and more 
clearly the fundamental antagonism between trade and war ; that vio- 
lent methods are employed, usually mistakenly and shortsightedly, to 
secure trade does not affect this antagonism. Martial law, the cessa- 
tion of guaranties, and general insecurity are a blight to the life of 
commerce, and are so recognized except in cases regarded as special. 
The very rise in the rates of marine insurance for ships intending to 
approach a focus of hostile operation is sufficient evidence of this fact. 
If, now, war and its weapons and system represent an intellectual adap- 
tation of man in the struggle for existence, trade, succeeding war, must 
have been found a better and more economic expedient in the same 
conflict. What trade has done for the development of the race we 
shall try later to show ; for our present purpose it is enough to have 
indicated the origin of exchange as a form of specifically human adap- 
tation through the activity of the mind, this being, as has been seen, 
a sort of corollary to the economy adaptation secured by a division of 
occupation (§ 1 8 1). 

183. The ways of trade. We have seen how different types of 
natural environment have called forth in varying degrees the respon- 
sive, adaptive powers of man. Commerce, being one of his expedients 
in the struggle for existence, would thus be conditioned in its forms 
and determined in its ways by the different types of natural environ- 
ment to which men are subjected. This might be called the direct 
dependence of commerce upon natural conditions, a topic which has 
already been touched upon above (§§ 172 ff.). It goes without saying 

Fig. 21. Trade Areas and Routes 


that the materials of commerce of any district are determined by the 
geologic, physiographic, and other natural conditions of the district. 
Coal cannot be mined in the coral rocks of Bermuda, nor can palms 
thrive in Antarctica. Furs are not a prominent import of the Congo 
region, and tapa cloth would profit the Eskimo but little. In this 
section, however, we wish to fix our attention rather upon the deter- 
mining influence exercised by various conditions of the natural envi- 
ronment upon the location of the ways of trade. 

Man, as we have seen, works constantly along what he conceives to 
be lines of least resistance ; it is thus that trade routes are determined. 
Before man had learned to react strongly on nature, the routes of his 
transportation represented roughly his skill in selecting the easy and 
avoiding the difficult, as these were given in nature (§§ 291, 292). 
Thus the earliest ways of trade were around natural obstacles and were 
often devious in the extreme : in the desert they lay between oasis and 
oasis ; on the steppe, from one source of water supply to the next ; in 
the forest, through the less dense growth. They wound about the foot 
of the mountain, met the river at the fords, avoided the swamp (§ 292), 
sought the continuous ridge or the level, and so on. Reacting at length 
against obstacles, men hewed a tunnel through the jungle or a narrow 
trench through the savanna grass, blazed the trees of the forest, threw 
slight bridges across streams and ravines, and otherwise expended an 
overplus of present effort to secure a way of less resistance for some 
time to come. In particular, man discovered the saving of friction 
and the gain of motive force to be attained by utilizing water ways, 
wind currents, and other favoring elements in nature (§§ 169, 189, 
194). To pursue a roundabout course with the streams or winds was 
preferable to the tracing of a direct course in their absence. Each 
of the betterments of roads and vehicles previously referred to (§ 164) 
meant the striking out of a new line of an average least resistance. 

184. Continental routes. It will be advantageous to consider land 
routes — and for convenience they may be taken to include internal 
water routes over rivers or lakes — by themselves ; ocean routes were 
of a much later development, and introduce considerations of a wider 
nature. In the review of ancient land routes we may exclude America 
from our consideration ; although pre-Columbian commerce was 
stronger than was once thought, the shells, pipestone, and other de- 
sirable articles, which not seldom passed halfway across the continent, 
were handed on informally from tribe to tribe rather than floated upon 
a steady stream of trade. Again, the exchange accomplished between 
the Indians and the Eskimo was scarcely of an importance significant 


to our purpose. The internal exchange of the Mexican and Peruvian 
empires was already a mature and developed system, capable, perhaps, 
of being set alongside that of a civilized European state ; but it is prime 
evidence of the essentially restricted communications in pre-Columbian 
America that these two empires were ignorant of each other's exist- 
ence. For our present purpose early America presents nothing that 
will repay description. Australia, Africa south of the Sahara, north- 
ern Asia, — in short, all the outlying parts of the world, — may be sim- 
ilarly neglected in a study of the land ways of trade. The center of 
interest of this topic lies in the region containing the antique foci of 
civilization, for it was from there alone that trade routes worthy of the 
name, or likely to repay study, radiated. In other words, the early de- 
velopment of trade on any considerable scale, as an expedient of men 
and societies in the struggle for existence and for a higher standard 
of living, is found in the north temperate zone of the Old World, — 
the region to which so many of our lines of development lead back 
(cf. §§ 148, 159, 160, 166, 194), — whence in later ages it overflowed 
toward the south and then penetrated into the remotest corners of the 
earth. For the determination of the routes of this commerce we may 
rely on something more than inference, for we are already within the 
field of history ; and in confining our remarks to these ways of trade 
we introduce no essential limitation, for they were perfectly typical. 

The natural internal routes of the Chinese trade were the rivers ; 
and the same may be said of India, Persia, and Egypt. To the era of 
trade during which it was confined chiefly to limited areas the term 
" potamic " has been aptly given (§§ 166, 187, 188). But rivers are 
not always present where trade is impelled to go, and so in all these 
countries there is found a considerable purely land traffic . The Chi- 
nese early pushed westward across deserts and plateaus, carrying their 
trading operations as far as Persia ; they also pursued land routes into 
Mongolia, Indo-China, and other regions. The Assyrians were more 
passive, but the Egyptians penetrated the desert to various oases, and 
their connections with " Ethiopia " (Nubia, northern Abyssinia, and 
possibly Kordofan) go back probably to 2000 B.C. Again, it is clear 
that a caravan trade passed between Assyria and Egypt in remote 
times, although this was prevailingly in the hands of an intermediate 
people — the Phoenicians. 

Such early evidence is bound to be vague and uncertain ; in order 
to get a useful perspective of land routes it is necessary to come down 
to a time when they had become more definitely fixed over wider areas, 
and thus lend themselves more readily to our form of examination. 


At the same time, to get simple examples of what might be called 
" natural " routes one must needs go back far enough into the past to 
antedate man's activity in the wholesale modification of natural condi- 
tions to suit his own purposes. The period at which the latter process 
is generally considered to have begun in irresistible force is that ush- 
ered in by the Renaissance, the Reformation, the discovery of the sea 
route to India and of the New World. We take our first examples of 
land routes, then, from the mediaeval period. The great desideratum 
of this age was the connection through trade of the Orient and the 
Occident, or, more directly, of the Orient and the Levant ; and the 
earliest connections, later reverted to in time of stress, were overland. 
These routes are indicated in a rough way on an accompanying map 
(Plate I) ; detailed study of their courses in relation to topographic 
features reveal the obvious reasons in physical nature for the par- 
ticular trends which they pursue. 

These were not, of course, the only land routes of the period ; they 
were rather what might be called the ''trunk lines" of contemporary 
commerce. The subsidiary lines which were used in the distribution 
of eastern products in the west are also of deep interest to our sub- 
ject. Between the Levant terminals of the overland ways and the 
sources of European distribution there intervened a mediterranean 
route of which we shall presently speak. In general, however, these 
sources of European distribution may be taken to be : Venice above 
all ; then Genoa, Marseilles, Barcelona, London, Bruges, Antwerp — 
all via the Mediterranean and Atlantic — and Odessa and Kaffa via 
the Black Sea. The penetration from these bases of supplies was 
largely by way of the rivers : the Volga has through ages constituted 
a trade road to the famous old market of Nizhni-Novgorod ; the Danube 
to its particular back-country ; the Rhone, Rhine, and other west Euro- 
pean rivers to the not remote interior. And from the Italian cities 
land routes penetrated northward over the old Roman military high- 
ways, skirting the mountains, slipping through the passes, and finally 
emerging into the heart of the interior of west-central Europe. 

Looking at these routes of interior trade in a broad way, the contention of 
Ratzel (Anth., 11,467) becomes plain, viz., that trade routes are not mathematical 
lines but wide bands, and that their terminals are not points but regions. Natu- 
rally the " trade-route belt" must also be the " city belt," for the growth of cities 
is directly and inevitably dependent upon the importation of much food and other 
articles. That the general extension of the clusters of trade ways is latitudinal 
rather than longitudinal is again due largely to the concentration of the world's 
energetic population, through all later ages, in the north temperate regions (§§ 148. 
198: cf. fig. 22). Unless the tropics can be developed to a far greater degree 


(§ 1 79), this condition must long persist. And, finally, let it be noted, in anticipa- 
tion of later discussion (§§ 201-204), that the ways of communication represent 
one of the most vital factors in the spread of civilization. 

185. Improvement of routes and roads. Now, as it is our object 
constantly to recall the reaction of man upon nature, it is in place to 
consider the courses of land routes as modified by modern engineer- 
ing and other methods. This modification will be found to represent 
new ways of securing the old object, i.e. decreased resistance or cost. 
Consequently, the qualities aimed at in the modification of nature's 
roads will be levelness, homogeneity, smoothness, directness, and so 
on. The modification of road and vehicle toward one another has 
already been the object of comment (§ 164); let us now briefly com- 
pare the lay-out, with respect to natural obstacles, of the modern over- 
land trade routes as compared with earlier forms. 

It has been seen (§§ 163, 184) how the early highways tended to 
take advantage of the absence of natural obstacles ; how they tended, 
if not to take to the rivers, at least to follow their valleys. In time, 
however, the highways came to be laid out with less reference to 
favorable conditions as found in nature (§ 294), and engineers became 
bold enough to cope with nature's minor hindrances successfully. That 
the early railways in general followed the highways seems clear enough ; 
but the startling growth of man's power over natural obstacles is shown 
by their tendency to break away from the former leading-strings. The 
growing demands of complex modern life and the augmenting impor- 
tance of the time element have had their effect ; millions are spent in 
eliminating even slight curves of the road-bed — in cutting, filling, tun- 
neling, and bridging. All this results in a considerable departure from 
old ways of trade. Hence the railroad may operate to neutralize natural 
disadvantages ; it may better the situation of a settlement, summon it 
to a renewed life, or even call into existence new centers of population. 
Illustrations of the artificial alteration of natural conditions connected 
with the construction of railroads are numerous. 

A great deal has also been done toward ameliorating internal water 
communication ; river channels have been cleared and straightened ; 
the water roads like the land routes have been rendered freer of ob- 
stacles. Artificial rivers (canals) have been constructed (§§ 295, 296), 
and their courses leveled and their currents quieted by means of locks 
and other devices. Lake navigation has been similarly benefited. For 
many decades it was believed that internal water routes would never 
meet severe competition from land routes (§ 296), despite their rela- 
tive indirectness and the slowness of their passage. 


It must be understood, however, that even with the growth of 
man's " power over nature," its limits are set, and by forces beyond 
control. The physically impossible may scarcely exist in the eyes of 
engineers, even though certain obstacles could never be overcome ; 
but the physically difficult may easily become the commercially impos- 
sible, that is, the new line may not after all be one of " least resist- 
ance." One of the roads which enter Pittsburg spent over $35,000,000 
in overcoming a minor geographical obstacle. In building the Canadian 
Pacific, in one case a shelf along the coast, 20 feet wide and 1 1 miles 
long, had to be blasted through rock ; one single mile of the road cost 
$750,000. Many small rivers were diverted from their natural courses 
— one a stream 150 yards wide — through rock tunnels. In the sixty- 
two miles from the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the valley of 
the Columbia River, the Kicking Horse River, which the line follows, 
falls 2778 feet; this stream had to be crossed nine times, and there 
were 370,000 cubic feet of rock to be removed, besides the tunnel- 
ing work. These tremendous costs in labor and capital represent the 
resistive power of environment ; it is plain that men would never un- 
dergo them if there were any available way of escape. From what 
has been said it is clear enough that, despite such tours de force, the 
modern ways of overland trade are still largely and directly condi- 
tioned by the character of the physical environment. 

186. Water routes. The reason why commerce has taken to the 
water where possible is sufficiently obvious (§ 169); the river ways 
are seen to have formed a great factor in what may be called interior 
or continental trade routes. In fact, it is only with the invention of the 
most perfect roads and vehicles that land transportation has been able 
to compete at all with that by water. The construction of canals and 
their persistence in the presence of railroads is evidence enough of 
this assertion (§ 296). In approaching now the topic of water trans- 
portation and sea routes the subject may be divided into two sections : 
mediterranean (inclosed-sea) routes and ocean routes. Or, to use an- 
other nomenclature, we may trace commerce from its " potamic " (or 
interior) stage into the " thalassic " and then the "oceanic" stages. 

187. Commerce of the mediterranean type. The thalassic stage is 
most completely represented by the case of the Mediterranean, though 
to a less degree by the East and South Asian seas, some parts of the 
Pacific archipelagoes, and the North and Baltic seas. It can hardly 
be maintained that the Americans developed into this stage ; and the 
Africans and Australians scarcely took to salt water at all. We know 
most about the Mediterranean traffic, for it is the lineal prototype of 


the European world-trade itself. The way in which the navigation 
of such a large body of water was begun was by very slow and timid 
stages (§ 194). The peoples of the eastern end of the Mediterranean 
were, as neighbors of the ancient empires, the first to attempt this 
hazardous undertaking. The Phoenicians or their predecessors first 
put to sea in very inadequate vessels, and dared not advance far from 
the coast in their occupation of fishing. They were favored, as has 
been seen, by the exceptionally opportune character of the coast line 
and island groupings of their vicinity (cf. §§ 168-170). The first 
"routes" hugged the shores and proceeded by slight stages from 
indentation to indentation, or ventured from island to island across 
narrow sea arms. What would now be a slight menace of sea or 
weather sent the venturers scuttling into harbors where their frail 
craft were beached and drawn up beyond the surf. Adverse winds 
effectually destroyed their slight headway, and night sailing was out 
of the question. 

Because, however, of the favorable conditions under which they 
worked, the fishermen traders had at a very early period gradually 
ventured throughout the ^Egean and penetrated the Black Sea. Thus 
far they scarcely needed to pass out of sight of land, and, though 
certain channels and ways had been favored, because they presented 
fewer difficulties to the crude seamanship of the age, no distinctly 
marked highways of traffic can be laid down. When, however, the 
southern extremity of Greece had been reached, distances began to 
be greater, and to call for the employment of all the resources and 
courage hitherto accumulated. These had grown to meet the opening 
situation, and the wider areas were successfully crossed ; the mariners 
crept up the western shore of Greece and then dared to sail for south- 
ern Italy. Gaining confidence along with skill in the navigation of 
improved craft, they then passed onward to the western end of the 
Mediterranean. They crossed from Sicily to North Africa and thence 
proceeded along the coasts of what are now Algeria and Morocco. 
They even pressed on beyond the so-called Pillars of Hercules (Strait 
of Gibraltar), and skirted the western shores of Europe to England 
and to the Baltic, and those of Africa a shorter distance southward. 
It is to be noted that the earliest Mediterranean routes followed the 
broken northern shore of the sea and let the unbroken southern shore 
severely alone. The story of the ^Eneid tells of the fear in which 
the ancients held these sandy coasts and their perilous waters. The 
country now known as Tripoli received but little attention for some 
centuries, i.e. until the spread of the Greeks (§ 196). 


Here, then, lay the devious pathway of early trade and settlement, 
determined almost wholly by obvious physical conditions. The trepi- 
dation of the ancient mariners in the face of relatively minor dangers 
is clearly exhibited in the story of the Odyssey. Both Odysseus and 
Menelaus came to grief in doubling Cape Maleia, and the former's 
wanderings are one long nightmare of sea perils (cf. § 195). Note- 
worthy, however, is the constantly augmenting power of man in adapt- 
ing himself to the situation, through the perfecting of his vessels and 
seamanship. Before the West was reached the art of steering by the 
stars — first by a constellation, then by the North Star — had been ac- 
quired, and the vessels had attained a type of model and equipment 
which permitted of greater speed and resistance, and made possible 
the riding out of a storm or even tacking into the wind. 

The later trade routes through the Mediterranean are but refine- 
ments upon these natural first ones. This or that precaution was 
neglected or rendered unnecessary, ways became more direct and 
came to be determined to a larger extent by markets than by physical 
features of land and sea. In the classical times the isthmus of Corinth 
was crossed by transshipped cargoes or even by whole ships drawn 
upon trucks, and so the long voyage around the Peloponnesus was 
avoided. The map (Plate I) indicates the general trend of the trade 
routes of this age. In the later Middle Ages still further modifica- 
tions were made upon the original network of routes, tending toward 
decreased cost and danger, increased speed and efficiency, etc., until 
the final stage of thalassic navigation is represented by the several 
routes of the Venetians and Genoese and their competitors. 

Similar developments took place upon other inclosed seas or along 
relatively favorable littoral. Any subsidiary foci of this nature were 
located, naturally enough, in the region of the ancient civilizations or 
on their borders. The relatively local and small-scale commerce of 
the Polynesians, though of curious interest, has not entered in any 
significant degree into the stream of the world-trade. The Chinese, 
in resistance to, or in evasion of the imperial orders prohibiting sea 
traffic, were early led by the circumstances of their position to develop 
trade relations with neighboring islanders such as those of Formosa, 
Japan, and the Philippines. These relations became extended in time 
to the south, and at length reached Borneo and penetrated the Archi- 
pelago. The determining effects of the winds upon the movement of 
this trade were very marked (cf. §§ 103, 124) ; commonly the Chinese 
sailed southward with the north monsoon and there awaited the veer- 
ing of the wind to the south before their return ; the interval was 


necessarily employed in agricultural and other gainful occupations, 
and this led to settlement and to the establishment of more endur- 
ing trade ways and terminals. The Chinese coast trade penetrated in 
time as far as India, and for many generations connected with the 
western traffic of Arab and European at Singapore. Thus the trade 
which was nurtured up in widely separated mediterraneans finally 
met and contested for superiority. A somewhat less important com- 
mercial development took place at the hands of the Arabs, which, 
reenforced by the religious proselytism of Islam, placed a distinct 
stamp upon the civilization of northeast Africa (fig. 20) and the Malay 
Archipelago. Before the time of the Portuguese the Arabs formed 
an indispensable link in the sea traffic between the Italian cities and 
the Far East, controlling the Red Sea and Persian Gulf routes and 
most of the trade of the Indian peninsula. The first preoccupation 
of the earliest Portuguese viceroys and governors was the destruction 
of the Moslem sea power and the expulsion of the Arabs from the 
eastern seas which they dominated. In this endeavor they and their 
successors were thoroughly successful, 1 and thus this inferior focus 
of trade development was absorbed into the larger stream from the 
more favored source. The type of commerce which was developed 
in the Mediterranean thus gradually came to be the world type 
because of its power as a system in competition with its rivals. 

188. Commerce of the oceanic type. But we have anticipated to 
some degree the discussion of the type called "oceanic." The ocean 
was ventured upon in very remote times not only by the Phoenicians, 
Northmen, and others in the West, but by the Malays and Polynesians 
of the East, and the Arabs in the Indian Ocean. No doubt the coast 
traffic along the Bay of Biscay equaled or surpassed in danger much 
of that which is more distinctly oceanic ; but of true and systematic 
oceanic navigation, i.e. the utilization of the open ocean, there was 
none until the Age of the Discoveries. It can hardly be said that the 
Portuguese used the open ocean before the voyage of Da Gama ; for 
we find exhibited in the new field the same timidity with which we 
have become familiar in the case of the Phoenicians. The voyagers 
crept along the shore rather than sailed the sea. It was only with 
further development, — with the acquisition of the compass and of skill 
in charting, with the invention of a sextant which could be operated 
on board ship, the learning of the southern constellations, and the 
advance in the creation of an "oceanic" type of vessel able to 
weather the new and more perilous conditions of ocean navigation 

1 Keller, Colonization, Chap. III. 


for which the Venetian galley and caravel were entirely unfitted, — 
that navigation dared at length to strike out across entrant angles 
of the coasts and finally to pursue more advantageous routes directly 
across wide stretches of open ocean. 

189. Ocean navigation. The early Portuguese captains crept along 
the northwest coast of Africa, fearing each headland or shoal which 
forced them to draw away from the land. They somehow worked 
through the region of calms (§ 102), paying heavily in time and in lives 
for each few miles of advance. There was no selection of the sea way, 
no avoidance of the as yet uncharted regions of calm, no advantage 
taken of the as yet undetermined courses of the winds. It was a local 
"Christian" pilot who finally, in 1498, steered Da Gama straight 
across the open sea from Malindi (near Mombasa) to Calicut ; and it 
was many years before the sailors dared to pass to the east of Mada- 
gascar. In the course of time, however, greater familiarity with the 
Atlantic had led the seamen to take ever more extended advantage 
of the trade winds, with the strange result that Cabral, in 1 500, trend- 
ing exceptionally far to the westward (under the influence of a storm 
or an equatorial current), discovered, as it were by accident, the coast 
of Brazil. Little by little the paths of the winds were learned and 
charted, until in the course of generations the present sailing route 
to the East was adopted. 1 The history of the Portuguese in India 
chronicles many a situation whose outcome turned upon the presence 
or absence of ships whose arrival or non-arrival was a matter of the 
location, direction, or strength of the monsoon. Winds and tempests, 
calms, surfs, currents and countercurrents, shoals and reefs — these 
form the favorable or unfavorable factors of the sea way as do hills 
and valleys, swamps and rivers those of land ways. Coming down to 
more modern times, it is clear enough why voyages across the ocean 
are made as far north or south as possible ; it is now understood that 
they are thereby shortened. Again, it was Franklin who first correctly 
demonstrated that the opinion, commonly accepted and acted upon, 
that it was "downhill to England" had a scientific basis (cf. § 19). It 
is a well-known fact that ships sail from England to Australia via the 
Cape of Good Hope, but return by doubling Cape Horn. 2 This is a 

1 See maps, Plate II, and fig. 21. 

2 "The use of currents of wind and water is, of course, much more important to 
sailing ships than to steamers. For instance, a clipper leaving a British port for Aus- 
tralasia at first hugs the European coast, in order to get the full advantage of the 
N. E. Trades ; but south of the Equator she hugs the American coast, in order to avoid 
the S. E. Trades, and holds on southward till she reaches the latitude of the ' Roar- 
ing Forties.' Then before the 'Brave West Winds' she holds due east past the Cape 


matter of the winds. In order to exhibit still more clearly the effect 
of natural conditions in determining sea routes, the following quota- 
tion x is given in extenso : 

" The sailing routes of the Atlantic illustrate in a striking manner the effects of 
the prevailing winds. Between the Northern States and the English Channel the 
sailing vessel goes before the westerly wind and follows closely upon the steamer 
route. Returning there are two routes, a southern and a northern. The northern 
faces the west wind and involves much tacking back and forth. The southern 
route, going southwest to avoid the westerly winds, gets into the trades, passes 
along the coast of Spain, south of the Azores and Bermudas, and crossing in the 
latitude of Havana comes up northwestwardly to the middle Atlantic States. If 
the destination is the Gulf of Mexico, the recommended track is still farther south, 
passing into the Caribbean near Barbados and out through the Yucatan Channel 
into the Gulf. In the winter this southern route is made even longer, because the 
vessel must go farther south to reach the trade winds. Even the vessel bound for 
New York may then go 150 to 200 miles south of the tropic of Cancer. At this 
season the seas east and northeast of Newfoundland are more favorable to ships 
because free from ice. The icebergs and ice floes are released from their frozen 
moorings by the summer thawing and float about the ocean during summer and 
autumn. The solid freezing of winter holds the next ice crop in place until the 
succeeding June. During this season vessels returning from north Europe are 
recommended to follow the northern route. From the North Sea they go around 
Scotland ; those from the Channel steer northwest from the Stilly Isles or south- 
western Ireland, till latitude 54 deg. is reached, then from mid-ocean a south- 
westerly route is followed along the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. 
This northern detour is taken to avoid the strong head-winds and storms which 
often rage during this season with great fury between 45 and 50 deg. north." 

It may be objected that sailing routes have but little to do with 
modern conditions and that discussion of them is of academic rather 
than practical interest. This is largely true ; but it must be realized 
that something over one eighth of the world's tonnage still remains 
under sail. 2 Where speed is no consideration, i.e. in the transportation 

of Good Hope. On the return journey, all this is reversed. Holding still eastward, 
she makes Cape Horn, and keeps on her course till she is near enough to the African 
coast to get the full advantage of the S. E. Trades ; but north of the Equator she 
hugs the American coast, in order to avoid the N. E. Trades and to take full advan- 
tage of the S. W. Anti-trades. . . . Even steamers, however, are affected by currents 
and winds, especially by regular winds such as the N. E. Trades in the North Atlan- 
tic, or the ' Brave West Winds ' of the ' Roaring Forties ' in the South Atlantic and 
South Pacific. It is due to the latter, for instance, that the outward route to New 
Zealand, even for steamers, is round the Cape of Good Hope, while the homeward 
route is round Cape Horn " (Lyde, Comm. Geog., pp. 45, 46). 

1 From J. R. Smith, The Ocean Carrier, pp. 59 ff. This author's chapter on Lead- 
ing Routes of Ocean Commerce contains matter of great value for the class-room 
development of the present topic. 

2 The ships of certain peoples, e.g. the Chinese, are, of course, almost exclusively 


of bulky, imperishable articles, steam power has excluded that of 
wind much less rapidly and thoroughly. And it will likewise be noted 
that steamers are not exempt from the influence of the natural factors 
already alluded to, and others ; indeed they are more helpless in many 
ways than sailing craft because their motive force is not furnished free 
by nature. A glance at the steamer routes (fig. 21) of the present 
day will reveal the marked influence of a number of the factors just 
mentioned ; parallelisms with and divergencies from the sailing routes 
are significant in many ways. 1 

190. Improvement of navigation conditions. Certain physical fac- 
tors have been pointed out which are about as determinative of water 
routes as are hills, rivers, and the like of land routes. But, as has 
already been seen, man, in his attempt to reduce future effort and 
cost by a large present expenditure of the same, has shortened and 
smoothed the land roads. Something of the same nature has been 
accomplished as to the sea ways, though not nearly so effectively. 
Ships still avoid obstacles rather than oppose or override them ; in 
this they are aided, however, in many cases. It need not be more 
than pointed out that lighthouses, correct chartings and soundings, 
weather service, storm signals, buoys, wireless telegraphy, and the 
like are all apparatus for the protection of shipping against the forces 
of nature. Thirty years ago the average length of voyages by sail from 
the Lizard to Valparaiso was 102 days ; in 1872 it was 83 days. And 
there is developed through the activity of the human mind something 
even better than mere assistance in evasion. At a pinch the cost of 
smoothing the wave surfaces with oil (cf. § 10) becomes an economy 
and is practiced. Again, the worst of obstacles in frequented places 
are sometimes removed ; dredging operations and the dynamiting of 
dangerous reefs furnish examples of this activity. A great land mass 
is cut through and turned from an isthmus into a strait (§ 297) for 
the purpose of shortening a sea route and thus rendering it safer and 
cheaper. The saving of time in the round trip of a sailing vessel 
from New York to San Francisco through a Panama canal is estimated 
to be in days. Naturally very little can be done to neutralize the 
great forces of sea and air, but the water vehicle can be modified 
toward resistance. And finally the course of commerce can be secured 
by the distribution of losses through marine insurance. 

191. Terminals and way stations. That the terminals and way 
stations of sea roads are of wide importance to the subject in hand 

1 See note 2, p. 205. This topic is capable of considerable elaboration, both geo- 
graphical and historical. 


may be inferred from the foregoing. We have dwelt in a former 
chapter upon the different styles of harbor (§§ 20 ff.) ; in the early 
stages of sea-borne traffic, however, it must be understood that all 
other considerations (of depth, size, etc.) yielded before those of safety 
to craft of small resistive power. The mouth of a small river was far 
preferable to such an open roadstead as, for instance, that of New 
York ; and artificial harbors were unknown. The criteria of a good 
harbor have thus altered with the progress of naval architecture and the 
science of navigation. The decline of the smaller harbors of the New 
England coast (New Haven, New London, Stonington) is witness to 
the rapidity of development within the last century or so. For the 
present stage of oceanic commerce the qualities desired in a harbor 
are rather depth, space, directness of approach, and the like. The 
best modern harbors are of the flooded-valley or river types described 
in a previous chapter (§§27-32). It is to be noted that there remain 
but few strictly natural harbors ; man has made alterations and im- 
provements in them all. He has imitated nature's products and also 
her processes ; by means of skillfully constructed walls and other de- 
vices he sets the sea currents and tides to washing out their beds 
where he wills, if he does not will too ambitiously. 

There is another condition which must be introduced into the con- 
sideration of present-day sea terminals, and that is, the nature of the 
back country and the consequent distribution of land routes. The 
ways of trade now stretch across both sea and land, and there are few 
true terminals ; land and water routes combine into one composite. A 
promising economic development of any region, which thus demands 
a sea outlet, is sufficient almost to create its own harbor entrance. If 
the cost of artificial breakwaters, etc., seems likely to be repaid either 
through the development of traffic or through its diversion from 
larger and more costly land routes to more distant ports, the construc- 
tion of such harborage constitutes ultimately a line of less resistance 
(cf. § 33). Again, the physically difficult becomes the commercially 
possible; but these cases are rare. All that has been said of the safe- 
guarding or improvement of water routes applies with double force to 
the harbors, for it is here that the concentration of traffic repays the 
immensity of the cost. There is a limit, however, here as elsewhere, 
to man's power over natural conditions. Many a stretch of shore has 
no commercially possible harbor because the construction of such 
would be physically too difficult. The United States government has 
sunk millions in the hopeless attempt to improve a certain class of 
rivers and harbors whose only claim to attention has been a political 


one. All the money and the efforts directed toward the diversion of 
trade from New York to Philadelphia or Boston have been in vain ; 
the stream of trade, as is admitted, "naturally" flows over New York 
because of the manifold natural advantages possessed by that port. 1 
That, with the increasing complexity of commerce, more and more 
financial and other factors contribute to this result goes without the 
saying. The presence, however, of these very advantages is to be re- 
ferred in no small degree to the favoring influences of natural condi- 
tions, acting either now or in the past. A consideration of the maps 
of trade routes (fig. 21, and Plates I and II ; cf. § 34) will exhibit a» 
perspective of the harbor factor in modern trade. 

Of the way stations of commerce it may be said that their character 
too has changed considerably with the evolution of commerce into 
more complex forms. The early way stations were, strictly speaking, 
few, for the commerce of ancient times was largely of the peddling 
variety, and almost every stop was a prospective market. In earlier 
centuries it was very necessary to have places where vessels could be 
careened and cleaned or repaired, where a deposit of materials for such 
purposes could be made, and where provisions and water could be taken 
on. Nations sought to have such halfway houses ; for such purposes 
the Portuguese used Tristan da Cunha ; the Dutch, Table Bay ; the 
French, Mauritius and Reunion ; the British, St. Helena. The most 
famous of such way stations was perhaps that at the southern tip of 
Africa ; it is significant that the Cape Town district since its discovery 
has always belonged to the dominant European maritime power. 
St. Thomas in the West Indies forms an illustration of the way station 
that has lost its importance : during the earlier days of naval construc- 
tion its protected harbor formed an ideal refuge for ships of all nations, 
to say nothing of giving convenient concealment to those of the buc- 
caneers ; but when ships became stronger, of greater speed and pro- 
vision-carrying capacity, — when they had acquired, so to speak, a 
"longer wind," — the advantages possessed by this harbor declined. 
The vessels passed directly to their destinations. It is not impossible 
that it may again gain some perhaps unforeseen commercial impor- 
tance as a result of the opening of the Panama Canal. 

The advance of the naval art has, in another important respect, 
altered the status of the former way station. Steamers, especially the 
fuel-consuming war vessels, have become in a way far more dependent 
upon supply stations than the old sailing craft, for if the latter needed 
overhaulings and food for the crew, the former require much more in 

1 For a sketch of the growth of New York, see Ratzel, Anth., II, 471. 


the line of skilled repairing and food for the engines. Of a conse- 
quence the various aspirants for maritime power feel the necessity of 
acquiring coaling and cable stations wherever their policy (generally a 
world-wide one) leads or is likely to direct their interests. They nat- 
urally select the old way stations for this purpose, and thus, in some 
degree, revive their waning importance. For example, France has 
coaling stations on the Comoro Islands and here and there in Oce- 
ania ; Germany in the recently purchased or leased Carolines and 
Kiao Chou ; the United States in Key West, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, 
Guam, and Manila ; Great Britain in Malta, Aden, Zanzibar, Singa- 
pore, Hongkong, Wei-he-wei, Vancouver, the Bahamas, and elsewhere 
over the globe. Not all of the stations were old halting or resting 
places of the fleets of previous centuries, but all might be called 
way stations of commerce if the navies are its protectors. Naturally 
enough, the more direct routes of steamers have reduced the impor- 
tance of stations that lay upon the more circuitous sailing routes, 
e.g. those of West Africa. 

It should be noted that harbor-cities, by virtue of their trade, and of their mixed 
and varied population, are not seldom the gates of entrance for disease, especially 
for new and strange ailments. Yellow fever came first to Rio de Janeiro and 
Havana along with the slave-cargoes. A rigorous quarantine sometimes fails to ex- 
clude the germs of small-pox, cholera, bubonic plague, etc. In general, sea-ports 
are likely to show a higher morbidity and mortality than inland cities. 1 

192. Nature of man's manipulations. In conformity with our 
method of presentation, the question would now arise as to what 
man can do to better the routes of trade over land and water ; but, 
for the sake of convenience, this consideration has been touched upon 
as the account proceeded. It is only necessary now to recall the 
fact that all the expedients developed show man to be an adapter 
to natural conditions (§ 139), and not at all the master of them. 
Marine insurance, in particular, however clever a device, cannot be 
regarded as representing any important "scoring against nature." 
It is in reality merely an easier way of bearing through cooperation 
the regular vicissitudes of life ; misfortune, a variable quantity, is 
reduced to a constant small element of loss, all damage being thus 
distributed among a large body of insured. If men ever get to use 
the air as a path for trade, it will be through a still greater clever- 
ness than that already exhibited on the water, in detecting natural 
laws and conditions and adapting themselves to them. 

1 Cf. Ratzel, Anth., I, 244. 


It is nevertheless interesting to imagine a " historic landscape " in contrast to 
a natural one. 1 If a man could have viewed the central part of North America 
from above, say, in the pre-Columbian times, he would have seen an essentially 
natural landscape ; something the same impression can be gained from a physical 
or relief map. If the United States could be so viewed now, the face of nature 
would be seen to have been altered. Deforestation would very likely have brought 
about the most striking change; but the country would also be seen to be "spotted" 
with human settlements, and interlaced with human ways. A map of commercial 
routes might here supply the perspective. Nevertheless the historic landscape 
could never be more than a veneer over the natural one, a fact which the non-in- 
dication of relief on our popular maps is calculated to obscure, at least in the pop- 
ular mind. These superficialities are naturally sufficient to fill the horizon of human 
life, which deals so largely with the obvious and the proximate ; the function of 
science in such a" practical field" is to introduce the wider and more fundamental 
— in the non-metaphysical sense, the more philosophical — conceptions. 

!Cf. Ratzel, Anth., II, 180. 



193. Race character in commerce. The last chapter has dwelt 
upon the immediate control of trade through natural conditions ; the 
character of our treatment now calls for a consideration as to whether 
commerce is not also indirectly affected by these conditions through 
their influence upon men, the agents of trade. If the practical mer- 
chant were asked offhand what determines the type and localization 
of trade, he would probably answer at once that it was the character of 
the people. Race character would so patently explain so many things 
about exchange that he would probably be disinclined to go behind 
it ; and in this he would doubtless be justified, for race character 
seems now so fixed and so sustainable in the face of an environment 
with which intellectual adaptation has secured at least apparent har- 
mony, that it has taken on the character of an independent factor. 
Except through the broadest generalizations race character is practi- 
cally inexplicable, whether it be exhibited in the emotional or the 
practical, in religion or in trade. But let us recall what our generali- 
zations concerning environmental influences can suggest as to the 
development of a commercial tendency in a society. 

It could scarcely be disputed that the sense of the need or desira- 
bility of exchange is a mark of that human group which is coming to 
react more intelligently upon its environment ; and that the develop- 
ment of the apparatus of exchange is, as has been seen (§§ 1 81-182), 
one of man's more refined and less obvious devices to secure well- 
being, or self-realization, or whatever other designation may be pre- 
ferred to cover success in the struggle for existence. This being the 
case, the development of the " instinct for trade " can scarcely arise 
apart from the development of civilization in general. But we have 
found certain broad conditions that control the latter development ; 
hence it is no less than obvious that those races which were to evolve 
an unmistakable commercial bent, and which were then to succeed in 
making themselves of account in the world of trade, should have 
always performed these exploits within an environment of the favor- 
able type, as above described (§ 180). The most important regions 


of trade have been and are the littoral states of Europe, together with 
their colonies in temperate regions, — all these being occupied by the 
white race, — and the littoral regions of temperate Asia, whose com- 
merce was founded and built up by the yellow race. No other of the 
chief varieties of the genus or species Homo has possessed any sig- 
nificant share in modern or ancient commerce, either as producer, 
consumer, or distributor. 

This is about as far as we can pursue race character without chal- 
lenging considerable dispute. If one should try, for example, to show 
why the English have been more successful traders than the Germans, 
or to balance over against each other the Chinese and the Japanese, 
he would embark at once upon troubled waters. All these questions 
have become, in modern times, immensely complicated ; and solutions, 
especially in the face of present-day prejudices, are scarcely demon- 
strable. But, questions of origin aside, it is of great value to get some 
idea of the actual disposition and motives of the typical trading nation. 
If we cannot explain, we can at least describe. Naturally these quali- 
ties come out in the plainest, if most naive fashion, in the simpler 
cases. The simpler cases are those of uncivilized peoples or of civi- 
lized peoples in ruder environments (frontier traders), or they are 
those of an earlier period of history. The historical cases can be 
observed, perhaps, with more of dispassionateness. Hence we turn 
to a sketch of such earlier types, referring the student to Part III of 
the present book for the more detailed consideration of more com- 
plex modern forms. 

To illustrate the multiplicity of causes assigned for a modern nation's trade 
ascendancy, take the case of England. One scholar, having physical environment 
in mind, will develop the importance of island position, broken coast and harbors, 
navigable streams, mineral wealth, the proximity of deposits of iron and coal, and 
the like. Others, who think race character determinative, and refuse to believe 
it a product of environment, will cite the sterling or other traits of the British : 
common sense, practicality, reserve, coolness, industry, seriousness, respect for law, 
piety, honesty, trickiness, arrogance, godlessness, and a score of other, perhaps 
contradictory, qualities. Others will assert, as causes of commercial success, good 
government and laws, freedom, discipline, isolation from continental wars and 
consequent invasion, strength of navy and merchant marine, good system of 
money and credit, wise labor laws, freedom of trade, and so on. That all of these 
are not true, or that those which are true are reducible to a few basic factors, would 
be difficult to show. 

194. Mediterranean beginnings. It is intended, then, that the fol- 
lowing brief sketch of earlier conditions of commerce shall throw light 
upon the environing influences and the racial character of typical 


merchant peoples, and in addition upon certain simpler forms of ex- 
change and of commercial devices. The reader is left to form his 
own opinion as to the relative importance of these two leading factors, 
and is invited to note the progressive complication of the originally 
simple apparatus of trade. It is likewise hoped that our survey will 
serve, together with the following chapter, as an illustration of the 
manner in which history is built about exchange, and as an introduc- 
tion to the trade conditions of the modern age. 

If we try to trace the trade movements of the West toward their 
origins, we are able to follow them, before the ascent of the stream 
brings us to the confluence of a number of individually insignificant 
rivulets of primitive barter, to Assyria and Egypt. These ancient seats 
of civilization, in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris, and of the 
Nile (§ 1 66), had developed a certain amount of internal trade and 
were beginning to become aware of the advantages of mutual exchange 
many hundreds of years before the Christian era. But neither of 
these peoples could be called commercial. They were producers and 
consumers, with a variety of wants to satisfy, but, so far as they them- 
selves were concerned, they made no decided move away from the 
typical group isolation of still more ancient and primitive times. 

In the region between the empires, however, there developed the 
first genuine traders of the western world. These were people of 
Semitic race, closely allied to the Hebrews and Arabs — the Phoeni- 
cians. They seem to have profited in very early times by their inter- 
mediary position between Assyria and Egypt, and to have organized 
an early exchange (by caravan) between the two empires. But they 
began to venture upon the sea at a very early period, at first in search 
of a species of mollusk from which a purple dye was extracted, a dye 
which was in great demand in the ancient empires, purple being the 
royal color. The Phoenicians took to the sea, then, as neither the 
Assyrians nor Egyptians could. Environing conditions favored this 
development, as Phoenicia was hardly more than a thin strip of coast 
line ; the forests of the Lebanon hills, which formed the eastern 
boundary of Phoenicia, also contributed their part, for the best cedar 
for shipbuilding was abundant and near. However, the political en- 
croachments of Assyrian and Egyptian rulers forced the Phoenicians 
to take to the sea for safety's sake. Thus were offered to or forced 
upon this small nation exceptional opportunities for developing the 
earliest merchant shipping of the Mediterranean. 

The Phoenicians were of a disposition to seize the offered chances 
with alacrity. They either possessed already, or speedily developed 


a character well suited to the function which they were to discharge. 
Where this disposition came from we cannot say ; *hey possessed it 
in common with their Semitic congeners, Hebrews and Arabs, though 
they seem to have developed it before either. They were soon, to 
judge from the earliest records which we have of them, single-minded 
merchants, caring for nothing except gain, and possessing all the easy 
adaptability, cleverness, resource, and unscrupulousness of the seasoned 
frontier trader. This well-adapted type, with its preliminary advantages 
as recounted, was enabled to begin its operations at the most favorable 
end of the most favorably arranged mediterranean on earth. Thus the 
first halting advances of shipping and nautical art were encouraged, 
as it were, by nature itself ; and the Phoenicians, not yet daring to sail 
out of sight of land, were enabled to crawl from island to island along 
a broken coast, until they reached Greece. Then the distances between 
halting stations began to widen as they became able to pass over them, 
and this people within a relatively brief period extended its trading area 
to embrace the whole Mediterranean (§ 187). Some of the Phoenician 
voyages even extended beyond the Strait of Gibraltar, and the trad- 
ing station of Gades (modern Cadiz) was founded about 1000 b.c. 

195. Frontier trade. The trade pursued by the Phoenicians was 
of the frontier type. Such exchange is carried on between a rela- 
tively civilized and an uncivilized people, and is immensely profitable 
because the former are able to take constant advantage of the unso- 
phisticated latter, who can have no realization of the values, in any 
open market, of what they give and take. For example, the Eskimo 
may take a twenty-five cent jackknife in exchange for a polar bear's 
hide ; for he does not know the cheapness of the former article, nor 
the high value of the latter, in the open market, say in London. When 
the native comes to know the real state of things, the trade is no longer 
a frontier trade. Now the profit, to express it in a more precise way, 
is due to the double exchange of commodities between markets of 
different conjunctures. " The conjuncture is an economic term for 
the adjustment of supply and demand to each other at a moment of 
time " (Sumner). In London the supply of glass beads is virtually 
unlimited, and the demand (and so their value) is small ; in Africa the 
supply used to be practically nil and the demand very large (and so 
the value high). The conjunctures were diverse. Again, the supply of 
and demand for ivory in London make it very valuable, while in Africa 
it used to be plenty and relatively valueless. If, now, a trader bartered 
glass beads for ivory and sold the latter in London, he was exchang- 
ing in a sort of double fashion between markets of widelv diverse 


conjunctures, and his profit was very large. This is the kind of trade 
the Phoenicians drove, and it is not marvelous that they became devoted 
to it. No compunctions assailed them ; in fact, they were regarded in 
antiquity as cheats and liars, but were tolerated only by reason of the 
material advantages obtained through them. 

In general, their trade resolved itself, then, into an exchange of 
finished products of the arts (metal work, dyes, drugs, and other 
eastern products, domesticated plants and animals (§§ 159-160), and 
the like), over against raw materials (chiefly metals and grains). The 
method of trade was barter of a primitive type, and exchange of com- 
modities did not always rule out an exchange of blows ; trade and 
piracy were different aspects of the same operation (§ 182). The policy 
was one of monopoly and of exclusion of all rivals from the profitable 
occupation. It is thought by some that the sea terrors of the Odyssey 
were mere " commercial myths " fabricated by the Phoenicians with a 
view to deterring possible rivals from entering their field of profitable 
occupation. What the Phoenicians did was to transport the character- 
istic products of the East to the West ; they thus initiated that long 
phase of history which is built about the Mediterranean and its com- 
merce. The civilizing effects of their activity will appear a little further 
on (§§200ff.). 

196. Later Mediterranean commerce. After the Phoenicians came 
their supplanters, the Greeks, pursuing essentially the same policy, 
though exhibiting considerable deviation from the one and fixed idea 
of their predecessors. To enter into detail respecting their trade 
history would be to repeat much that has been said of the pioneers. 
Under the Roman power the Greeks and others continued to purvey 
eastern products to the western world until, with the fall of the Empire, 
the commercial development of the western Mediterranean received 
a rude setback and was brought almost to total stoppage. This period 
is practically barren for our purposes ; but as time went on a recovery 
set in, and relations with the Levant and the East were renewed. The 
widening gulf between the Levant and the Occident was bridged over 
by the Crusades and by the commercial activities of the Italian city 
republics, chiefly Venice and Genoa ; for the western world had been 
so thoroughly educated by the earlier commercial peoples that when 
the easterners ceased to bring their wares the westerners went for 
them. Thus did trade development seem to take a reverse direction, 
although it was really only a matter of change in the carrying agency. 

It might be said of the character of the Italians that in most re- 
spects it belongs to the same category with that of the Phoenicians. 


They were shrewd, resourceful, tricky, intent on gain alone. They 
derived all sorts of advantage from the Crusades, but were in, not of, 
them. They remained on good terms with their customers, the Sara- 
cens, whatever the attitude of the Pope. They fought bloody wars 
among themselves to secure monopoly and universal exclusion of 
rivals. In short, they were the Phoenicians of a later age, and their 
decline, like that of their prototypes, was largely due to the habitual 
display of the same species of temperament and character. 

But the things which the westerners wanted had somewhat changed 
in identity. They were now provided with the processes and dexteri- 
ties formerly monopolized by the more civilized East, and the day 
of frontier trade was long over, at least for the countries bordering 
the Mediterranean. During the period of the Roman Empire there 
had begun to enter upon the markets of the West certain products of 
the Far East, chiefly silk and spices ; for the activity of the eastern 
centers of culture development, in China and India, and the energy 
of the carrying trade of the Arabs, had begun to dig out channels of 
commerce toward profitable markets (§§ 187-188). In the course of 
time the condiments and spices came to occupy a position of surpass- 
ing importance (§ 154), so that the trade of Venice became progres- 
sively more and more confined to these articles. The chief spices 
thus entered upon the European market were, above all, pepper, then 
cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, and other products of the Far East. 

197. Complementary trade areas. But these are products of the 
South rather than of the East ; they are one and all tropical plants or 
trees, such as the European climate could not foster. Their entrance 
upon the markets of Europe represented the first contact in history of 
this part of the temperate zone with the tropics. The great enthusiasm 
of the European for these products is difficult for us of this day to 
explain (§ 154) ; but it is clear that he meant to secure them by any 
and all means. Europeans had no acceptable natural products to offer 
in exchange for them, for, as has been seen (§ 175), the tropical people 
stood in little need of an imported supply of materials for food or 
clothing ; but their progress in the industrial organization and the 
arts enabled them to offer various manufactured products, and metals 
in the form of money. The two areas, the West and the East, be- 
gan then to develop a complementary trade relation ; they remained 
"West" and " East" because the tropical products long came into 
the Mediterranean via Damascus, Beirut, or Alexandria. What all 
this amounts to is, obviously, the connection of the two naturally 
complementary trade areas of the tropics and the temperate zone. 


Natural conditions had lent to each a development different in quality 
from that of the other (§§ 1 74-1 75). Each had characteristic products 
that proved attractive to the other. And in proportion to their greater 
energy the northern peoples began to assail the natural barriers which 
separated them from their desires and profits. A more perfect con- 
summation of this connection became from now on, and through the 
Discoveries Period, the aim of the several rival Italian republics and 
of their successors in trade supremacy. Out of this intense desire 
supplemented by others (religious zeal, etc.) came the rapid succes- 
sion of " conquests over nature " of the Discoveries Period, which 
initiates the modern age. And in proportion as this connection was 
the more perfectly realized, the nation which effected it reached toward 
the commercial supremacy of the western world. 

The importance of this motive in history has often been empha- 
sized but seldom overestimated ; it is one of the most striking exam- 
ples of the making of history about an economic issue. The North 
has always been reaching out toward the South, in the guise of the 
West seeking the East, since the Phoenicians had first awakened the 
West to the possibilities already realized by the nearer East. Alex- 
ander and the Caesars strove toward the East, attracted in part by its 
superior culture and consequent richness as a field for exploitation. 
Venice outstripped her rivals because of her success in consummating 
her connections with the eastern empires, and of the wealth that came 
to her through the resulting intercourse. And as civilization moved 
westward with trade, the Portuguese and Spanish began to cherish a 
desire to share in the great bonanza of the age — a hope none the less 
strong because long balked of its fulfillment by the monopoly policy 
of the Italians. It was this desire which, in its strength, drove the 
Portuguese around the Cape of Good Hope to get directly at " the 
wealth of Ormus and of Ind" ; and the same motive caused the right- 
about-face of Spain. Columbus by sailing west was to attain the" East " ; 
he too was after spices and gold. Again, the same desire led the 
Netherlanders to infringe upon the sacred Portuguese and Spanish 
monopolies, and then the Danes, French, and English. Possession of 
the centers of Oriental trade was the object of strife between these 
latter nations until approximately the present status in the East had 
been worked out. In such manner history was made about the trade 
which was to connect two typically diverse physical environments, 
complementary in a certain sense one with the other. 

198. Commercial types and areas. What has been said should 
give the reader some further idea of the dependence of trade upon 



natural conditions, and of the position of importance which the trade 
motive may take in history. But the simple directing of national 
attention and cupidity hither or thither, and the resulting collisions 
and readjustments are far from constituting the total influence of the 
commercial prepossession. The agents of trade, largely without pre- 
meditation, have exerted the strongest of civilizing influences through- 
out history. Let us consider that phrase " without premeditation." 
From the Phoenicians of old down to the Discoveries Period and 
later, the race character of the chief commercial peoples has exhib- 
ited as its dominant feature the desire for gain, and this through the 
first best means. So that if one were called upon to define, after 
these examples, the race character of the typical merchant people, 
he might say that the 

number and diversity 
of their wants, and 
their energy and skill 
in the satisfaction of 
them, regardless of 
others, — except in so 
far as assumed regard 
was found to bring its 
own reward, — have 
been the salient fea- 
tures. But these are 
the qualities which we 
have found developed 
under certain climatic 
and other conditions alone (§ § 1 46- 148,1 74- 175). It may be repeated 
that in general the matter of race character and the distribution of trade 
according to it seems to reduce itself to this : that the influences which 
favor the development of material and other civilization promote also the 
growth of exchange and of the commercial instinct. Hence the greatest 
foci of trade will be the centers of highest material civilization. What 
these were in earlier and are in later times we have already noted 
(§§ 172-174, 181). It is therefore not at all difficult to see why the 
bulk of the world's trade is between Europe and the temperate regions 
which she has colonized, that is, between parts of the temperate zones. 
The volume of trade sinks as other climatic areas are taken to form 
one set of the terminals, and vanishes almost to nothing when both 
parties to exchange are found outside the temperate zones. Figure 22 
roughly illustrates such proportions of trade movement ; this figure 

Fig. 22. Trade between Zones (schematic) 


might be taken to be a schematic representation of the world's trade 
routes. It also represents in some fashion the prevailingly latitudinal 
direction of the ways of trade. For the present purpose of getting a 
general perspective of commercial development, the determination of 
the influence of race character can hardly attain more precision. It 
begins to be clear, however, why the merchant peoples are located 
where they are, and why the center of gravity of the world's trade 
has ever moved northward (as well as westward) as the competition 
has become more severe and protracted. 

But to return to our cases : the Phoenicians certainly constitute the 
extreme example of the commercial type. They subordinated to com- 
mercial gain things which most peoples are not willing to renounce : 
language, religion, customs, and even national and racial identity. As 
a race they have passed away; there are no "Phoenicians" now to be 
found. Least of all did they have any l< mission," religious or cultural 
(§§ 194, 200). Certainly whatever they accomplished in the spread 
of culture was " unpremeditated." Similarly with the Greeks ; though 
they went to no such lengths as did their predecessors, the difference 
was of degree and not of kind. The Romans, not being a people 
commercially inclined, fall out of our reckoning ; yet it is worth noting 
that whatever culture-dissemination they did was scarcely due to 
premeditation. Everything under the Roman system, including trade, 
was strictly subordinated to one purpose, and that purely of self-interest 
— the maintenance of rule. The mediaeval Italian merchants might 
be expected, at first sight, to have followed a somewhat different course. 
The easy tolerance of the ancients for whatever was alien in religion 
and custom undoubtedly rested largely upon the absence of any real 
and vital distinctions between the various forms of these latter as 
exhibited around the Mediterranean, for they all were of an essen- 
tially similar type ; but the Italians were Catholics, in possession of 
a religion which would not brook a rival and which condemned in a 
body many of the customs and habitudes of non-Christians. Hence 
it would be supposed that the tolerance of preceding centuries would 
be absent. But this was not the case. The Venetians and Genoese 
operated essentially as did their predecessors ; they were, as we have 
remarked, in, but not of, the Crusades, for they rested content with 
such conquests as furthered their commercial purposes, and after they 
had collected much from the Crusaders in payment for transport, and 
had gotten a foothold in the eastern cities, they ceased almost entirely 
to take part in the Crusades. In contrast to the Crusaders they were 
on good terms with the Saracens. Commercial gain was again the 


chief and practically unique preoccupation. This attitude did not at 
all please the Pope, who saw the Italians trading with and affording 
comfort to the professed enemies of the faith. 

In fact, it seems that there existed at this time, and later, a fundamental 
antagonism between the Catholic religion and the development of commerce. It 
is easy to see that the retention of customers depended largely upon respect for 
their local social forms and traditions, — and this the trader was quick to perceive 
and to act upon even unconsciously, — whereas the attitude of any infallible faith 
could only be intolerant. This antagonism of the religious and the economic 
motives went on through the history of the Portuguese and Spanish empires, and 
became particularly marked when the church, in the person of the monks, tried 
to withdraw the natives in Portuguese and Spanish America from the control of 
the planters who needed them for the production of articles of exchange (gold, 
sugar, etc.). 

199. Colonization. The character and attitude of the specialized 
trader come out clearly enough in what has been said. The type 
has persisted into later times ; the Dutch of the seventeenth and later 
centuries could well have stood comparison, especially in the cynicism 
of their attitude toward backward peoples and in the sordidness of 
their preoccupations, with any of their forerunners. Naturally trade 
was likely to fall into the hands of those who would pursue commer- 
cial ends thus single-mindedly. It will presently be seen that the 
spread of culture seems to have been checked in no way through 
the non-existence of other than material aims in the minds and char- 
acters of those older merchant peoples who diffused it together with 
the extension of their gainful enterprises. But before considering 
the civilizing effects of trade it is desirable to touch upon another 
grand phenomenon connected with commerce, that is, colonization. 

Here we can no more than glance at one of the great sequels of 
trade development. 1 The majority of colonies have either begun as 
trading stations or have soon fallen under the attraction of trade of 
the frontier type (§ 195). The trader, as soon as his business began 
to yield any profit worth mentioning, was obliged to surround himself 
with a certain amount of the apparatus of trade — storehouses, extra 
stock, etc. — and to become essentially sedentary in his ways ; a 
peddling trade thus changes into a sort of localized form. But the 
" plant" of the settled trader is more or less continually jeopardized 
under any " native " government, and business operations are ren- 
dered tedious, insecure, and unprofitable, fience it has been the 
regular rule that the mother country shall extend her own sway over 

1 A treatise by one of the authors of this book deals with Colonization largely from 
the standpoint here occupied. 


the vested interests of her subjects in foreign lands of a low civili- 
zation. But from these two activities — settlement and extension of 
metropolitan control — arises the colony. Colonization is therefore 
the almost inevitable outcome of a brisk and profitable trade. And 
because settlement in temperate zones is attended by far fewer dan- 
gers, the most populous and productive colonies are all located in 
temperate regions (§§ 143-148, 172). But it is this very populous- 
ness and productiveness that give to a colony a strong influence 
over the natives of its region. 

Consequently, the colonies of the temperate regions have been 
sterling agents in the extension of civilization. The early Phoenician 
stations were stages in the transfer of the Assyrian and Egyptian 
culture toward the west, and the colonization of the Greeks Hellen- 
ized a large fraction of the Mediterranean coast peoples. The civ- 
ilizing effects of the Roman rule, felt in good part through the agency 
of the colo7iiae (though these were prevailingly of a military character), 
are well known. And the mediaeval Italian settlements in the Levant 
were factors of great moment in the collection of eastern products 
and processes, which were then introduced into the remoter western 
parts of Europe. In later ages the colony has been relatively less 
effective in the diffusion of culture among backward races, for rea- 
sons presently to be explained (§ 204), but during the Mediterranean 
period of commerce it certainly discharged a conspicuous function 
along these lines. 



200. Nature of early trade relations. Returning now, with the 
advantage of our preceding survey, to the topic of the civilizing 
effects of trade, we might take for a text the common saying that 
"trade is the handmaid of civilization." This expression, however, 
does not seem to strike off the exact relation between the two ; trade- 
is rather the forerunner, the way preparer, the herald of civilization. 
All these relations, as has been said, can be more clearly made out in 
the simpler cases of earlier ages, for the conditions of modern times 
are so hopelessly complex that no acceptable analysis of the effects 
of trade as distinguished from those of divers other factors can well 
be made. But if the history of the Mediterranean countries before 
the period of the Discoveries be scrutinized, it is possible more clearly 
to demonstrate the activity of trade in the spread of civilization. After 
considering this earlier period, one is in a better position to assign to 
trade its due recognition as a culture agent in modern times. 

In the earlier periods, as has been seen (§§ 193, 198), the temper 
of the trader was peculiarly single-minded ; he had no particular sense 
of his capacity as an agent in the spread of civilization, and if he had 
had, he would not have assigned it any great importance. The idea 
was to gain all the material advantages possible from trade ; the fact 
that while so doing he was benefiting the world to come, entered 
casually, if at all, into the trader's mind. There was, in these earlier 
days, no strong feeling that a certain religion, or set of customs, was 
inalterably right, and so must be imposed upon the world. It was 
conceived to be natural enough that people should differ in the details 
of such matters — and it was only in the details, for the religions and 
customs of the Mediterranean peoples were, as has been said, of an 
essentially similar type. Hence there was no intention or even desire 
to effect any changes in the status of backward peoples, except to 
stimulate their material wants and their demand for commercial 
products. The case of the Roman power may be cited as an exception ; 
but it is characteristic of the Romans that they did not strive to make 
changes in the manners and customs of the subject peoples beyond 



those which were necessary for the safeguarding of Roman rule. 
Hence there was no idea of a " mission " of any kind until the rise 
and spread of the great religions placed upon their adherents a certain 
proselytizing responsibility, which led them to attempt the alteration 
of local beliefs and habitudes. In other words, up to the end of the 
Middle Ages the factor of trade can be regarded as operating almost 
in isolation. Except with the Romans, there was scarcely any exten- 
sion of political domination on the part of a metropolis over its 
colonies, or of the colonists over the " natives " among whom they 
lived. Neglecting, then, the civilizing influence of the Roman rule, 
which it exercised through the imposition of discipline, the relations 
between peoples of a higher and of a lower degree of civilization were 
based substantially upon trade. Indeed, under the Romans themselves 
one of the greatest educative effects of their discipline was the exten- 
sion of the magna pax romana, under whose aegis trade found such 
security and attained such regularity as are essential for its well-being 

(§§ 182, 212). 

The results of such trade relations have been of the most far- 
reaching nature ; the whole stream of western civilization flows out 
of them. Without the activity of the Phoenicians and Greeks, un- 
questionably the development of western Europe and her colonies 
would have been at least delayed, and very likely for several centuries. 
The Phoenician trade routes have been in later times the routes of 
material civilization, the courses of Roman rule, and even the paths 
of Christianity itself. The Greeks took up the function of the path- 
breakers and discharged it with enduring results. And the Venetians 
and Genoese, together with other of the Italian city republics of the 
late Middle Ages, followed back to the East over the old routes, and 
^kept alive the fruitful relations between Levant and Occident which 
threatened to meet their end under the strifes and hatreds engen- 
dered by the Crusades. More specifically, the Phoenicians carried to 
the West the products, and then the processes, of the more highly 
civilized East, spreading toward the West the possession of the more 
refined products of the arts of agriculture and animal breeding, and of 
manufacture, and then the arts themselves. This they accomplished 
through the regular trade in material objects, in animals, and, last but 
not least in importance, in men ; for the universal kidnapping and 
slave trade of remote antiquity brought about a certain exchange of 
knowledge and dexterities between many districts of the Mediter- 
ranean. In brief, between the time of the early Phoenicians and the 
Discoveries Period the civilization of the East was made into a 


patrimony of the whole western world, as then known ; and this was 
done, certainly for the most part, through the influence of trade ; 
at least there existed no other educational factor of such generality 
and strength. If this is so, then trade was, in these earlier times, 
the 'handmaid of civilization," and something more. 

201. Civilizing effect of exchange. But let us see how it was that 
trade had so important a function in the spread of civilization. In 
any human society the most fundamental activity of the group must 
lie in maintaining its own life — in having its members live. But to 
secure this end, each group develops an organization of industry, a 
concerted attack upon natural conditions. This is the most elemental 
expression of its civilization (§§ 139, 140). Having succeeded in this 
respect, it naturally engages in the effort to live more abundantly, i.e. 
to raise its standard of living. In so doing it evolves a number of 
simple rules of conduct that gradually become custom and precedent ; 
it marks out spheres of rights of individuals and of groups, that they 
may not collide with each other and disturb the equilibrium and 
friendly cooperation of the whole society. Such rules of conduct 
extend into the ordering of sex relations and of family life, into the 
more or less rude definition of property, and of the form of govern- 
ment. When such rules are of long standing, the natural inertia of 
men opposes their sudden essential change. Such alteration would 
throw life out of gear for the ordinary group member to whom the 
customs and habitudes have become " second nature," and who is 
incapable of rationalizing upon them. 1 

Now if it is desirable to alter the group in respect to its civiliza- 
tion, it is necessary to begin at the bottom by striving to change the 
terms of the struggle for existence, thus inducing a modification of 
the superstructure of customs, institutions, and the like, that are built 
upon it and follow its guiding lines. The surest way of effecting a 
thorough alteration would be, plainly, to change radically the physical 
environment of the group (cf. § 136). This is what is done when, in 
modern times, a superior race occupies the habitat of a less-developed 
one ; it cuts down trees, exterminates game, builds inclosures, makes 
regulations, etc. — all for its own advantage and with no thought of 
the fate of the former owners of the land, the "lower" race. The 
latter is thrown completely out of harmony with the modified environ- 
ment, its body of customs and habitudes is soon out of joint, and, 
unless it can speedily effect a complete revolution in its ways, — and 
this seldom or never occurs, — it becomes demoralized and degenerate. 

1 See Sumner, Folkways, Chaps. I— III, et passim. 


Theoretically, if the backward race is not too far behind, it might 
accommodate itself to such alterations (which would be to it less 
revolutionary than to the very backward type) and rise to a higher 
plane. But it is clear that the transformation brought about in the 
peoples of western Europe by the Phoenicians and their successors 
was not due to any change of natural conditions ; the traders were 
too few and had no such purposes in mind as would have led to 
the effort necessary. The next most fundamental way of induc- 
ing a change in a group's life is by putting it in the way of per- 
forming its simpler reactions against its environment a little more 
effectively, that is, of bettering its industrial organization — its con- 
certed assault upon nature. This is the way of attacking the ques- 
tion next most fundamental to environmental alteration. The idea 
is to stimulate wants and desires for the attainable, and then supply 
what will gratify them, operating always upon such desires as are 
already present in a slightly less developed, or at least potential, 
form. This is what the traders did, almost unconsciously ; for to 
stimulate a demand and then supply it at a profit, the larger in pro- 
portion to the newness and unsatiated character of the demand, is 
the prime preoccupation of the trader, especially upon the frontier 
(§195). If, now, the industrial organization is thus bettered and 
extended, there should gradually grow up, upon this altered founda- 
tion, a set of customs and habitudes adapted to the higher plane of 
material existence attained ; or, at least, the validity of the old should 
be shaken, and any suggestion as to their alteration, even though 
unconsciously given, should be more hospitably received. But the 
alteration of such customs and habitudes toward the type of those 
developed by the more highly civilized peoples, under their own long- 
altered industrial organization, is what is regarded as advance in civi- 
lization. Hence the theoretic tendency of trade would be to prepare 
the way for a higher culture. 

202. Other civilizing agencies. To make the case the clearer, and 
before concrete illustration of what has just been said is given, let us 
briefly consider the effect of other lines of attack to secure the same 
end. Such other methods are bound to be prevailingly of conscious 
adoption, and are likely, even though there be no idea of a mission of 
enlightenment, to be coercive. The Roman conquests unquestionably 
secured, through methods of coercion, a large degree of success in 
uplifting peoples of a lower stage of development. But, as has been 
already suggested (§ 200), this result was largely due to the enforce- 
ment of peace and the consequent suppression of those intra- and 


inter-group strifes which, among peoples of an unsettled discipline, are 
always crossing the development of the organization of men against 
nature. The Romans were remarkably tolerant of their subjects' cus- 
toms and beliefs in so far as the latter did not interfere with the 
progress and solidification of Roman rule. This was one of the great 
reasons for their successes, not only in holding the empire together, 
but in advancing the fortunes of subject peoples. The latter adopted 
Roman ideas and customs because they saw the use of them under 
the more settled and industrial conditions now possible. The Roman 
language gave them more ease in speaking of the new relations, for 
it included names for new things just coming into their purview with 
the advancement of their material civilization and the elevation of 
their standard of living ; the Roman law corresponded to the needs 
of new relations in all walks of a more ordered life ; and so on. 
Hence the coercive measures of the Romans were of a civilizing 
nature, as those of later conquerors have seldom been. They were 
constructive and disciplinary. What the Romans did was to apply 
their practical minds and executive ability to the task of organizing 
the civilization of their time ; thereafter it advanced with greater 
smoothness and coordination. And, after all, the Roman influence 
toward the elevation of civilization was exercised, to all intents and 
purposes, unconsciously, or at any rate the driving force was self- 
interest. In this respect it coincides with the activity of the early 
Mediterranean trading nations. 

In later times the conscious motive or mission of uplifting other 
peoples has played a part practically unknown to the ancient and 
mediaeval times. It means, of course, that these lower peoples shall 
be made "as we are." But those who attempted such transformation 
had their eye not upon the fundamentals, as we have seen them, but 
upon the more obvious customs, habitudes, institutions, and beliefs 
upon which a group rests its individuality and superiority. But these 
things we have come to view as, one might say, secondary social 
forms resting upon the primary, and normally modifiable only through 
antecedent modification of these latter. A purely hunting tribe can- 
not understand a system of private property in land ; the fundamental 
and maintaining activity of the group demands that every one shall 
have the usufruct of the whole hunting ground. There is no object 
in dividing it up. Now, any people is sensitive with regard to these 
secondary matters, — family and property relations, religion, and so 
on, — and there is no much surer way of alienating either individual 
or group than bv a direct and contemptuous attack upon long-settled 


habitudes of life, than which no others are known or respected. More- 
over, if by force these secondary matters are suppressed or modified, 
without a corresponding change in the basis upon which they rest, 
there can be no longer any harmony between the group's life con- 
ditions and its manner of living ; and this means bewilderment and 
demoralization. If this is true, the great superiority, at least in earlier 
times, of the agency which rouses no antagonism, but yet strikes 
deep at the economic root of a society's life, becomes the more 
clearly apparent. 

203. Adaptability and efficacy of trade. The trader's business, in 
all ages, is to placate his customers, for only thus do profits accrue. 
Hence by a very instinct he lets the private individual or group inter- 
ests of his clients alone, and tries to tempt them with what they want 
or can easily be made to want. But what they want, since every group 
is well satisfied with its own way of living, and convinced that its cus- 
toms are best, are mainly material things. An American Indian may 
not care for a copy of Shakespeare's plays, but he does immediately 
sense the superiorities of the steel ax over the flint one, and of the 
gun over the bow and arrow. His family and social system, his religion, 
are not open to discussion, for they are in the body of a life policy 
bequeathed to him by the apotheosized dead. But variations in the 
material outfit of life can be concretely tested and selected when tact- 
fully presented. If, now, we turn back to the early Mediterranean 
traders, we find them in full possession of such insight into the bar- 
baric mind. To demonstrate this fact it is only necessary to catalogue 
the articles of the Phoenician west-bound traffic : metallic products, 
fabrics (especially linen), wine, oil, prepared spices, incense, perfumes, 
dyes, drugs, embalming mixtures, domesticated animals and plants 
(grains, trees, etc.). Plainly all these could come under two categories : 
products of another zone, and products of a higher culture. The latter 
exercised a livelier incitement to progress, the more so as they could 
be duplicated nearly anywhere, provided the knowledge of the proc- 
esses could be obtained. But it would be a dull tribe indeed — and the 
peoples about the Mediterranean were not dull — that could not pick 
up something of the processes from observation of the products, and 
besides, the slave trade furnished teachers in the person of kidnapped 
members of more civilized communities. Thus, beginning with the 
easily stimulated desire for a bronze ax, or a better plant or animal, 
the influence of a higher culture could come to be pervasive of all the 
groups with which it entered into contact. For after the less developed 
societies had been provided with the most obvious advantages of a 


higher material civilization, they were ready to reach out after the 
more complex and refined ; they would want better and more uniform 
weights and measures, less primitive methods in trade, better shipping 
and knowledge of navigation, a more developed conception of mine 
and thine, more intelligent theories of life in general — in short, a 
better equipment, both material and intellectual, for the struggle for 
existence. All these things might come as the direct results of trade 
with thoroughly self-seeking traders, as those of antiquity were ; 
and they did come, first to the Mediterranean peoples and then to 
those farther to the north and west. Whatever view is taken of the 
causes of this extension of culture must include a large recognition 
of the factor of commerce. One might go further and cite the dis- 
integrating effect of trade upon the feudal system, and show how it 
was the activity of the Venetians and Genoese that ushered in the 
modern era, with its initial feats of the Discoveries, all the most 
important of which were motived to a predominant degree, directly 
or indirectly, by trade interests or prospects. 

We have seen in preceding pages (§§ 166, 173) that civilization 
is a product not only of numbers but of the contact of numbers. It 
was trade which, above all, secured such contact in the earlier peri- 
ods ; and it was because this trade operated as a factor in harmony 
with the predisposition of its age that it managed to exert, unwittingly 
and without premeditation, such a strong civilizing influence. 

204. Trade's civilizing function in different periods. Such influ- 
ence has not been confined to ancient times. Trade is still the great 
educative factor as between peoples of diverse degrees of culture, if 
not as between those of approximately equal attainments. For several 
reasons, however, it has not met in later times with the striking 
degree of success which was reached when the western world was 
younger. First of all, modern trade has not had the same ground to 
work upon, for the commerce of the pre-Discovery Period had suc- 
ceeded in effect in bringing together all the European nations into a 
common market, that is, in exhausting the frontier trade in so far as 
it applied to peoples fitted by environment and race character to rise 
speedily to a high civilization (§§ 148, 174, 193). No such results in 
the spread of culture could be hoped for from contact with American 
Indians and South Africans as were attained through the purveying 
of products to European stocks, to so-called "active races/' like the 
Greeks. Later civilizing agencies have had to do either with the back- 
ward races of the temperate zones (Americans, Australians, Hotten- 
tots) or with those many tropical peoples whose environment has not 


conduced to their advance in civilization or receptivity for ideas of cul- 
ture. There has been developed through the ages, as between the more 
and the less developed races, a great chasm, as it were, and a contrast 
of superior and inferior (§§ 147-148, 174 ff.). The bridging of this 
gulf is a matter of long time and arduous effort, if, indeed, it is possible. 
Hence no means whatsoever have availed to raise the less developed 
races to take their place on a par with their educators, as the less de- 
veloped peoples of Europe with comparative rapidity came to do. This 
is the great and crucial consideration ; but there are others that may be 
named more perfunctorily. In later times the movement of civilized 
races into the habitat of savage races of the temperate zone has been 
so massive and overwhelming that it has swept the natives from the 
field before they had a chance to become civilized ; nothing such took 
place in the pre-Discovery Period. Again, in later times, the element 
of overreaching and dishonesty in trade, together with the tendency 
to purvey hurtful commodities, has become so highly developed, in 
dealing with unsophisticated peoples, that it is often said that trade 
actually opposes civilization. Also, while traders in early times used 
violence if they could, they have been able in more modern times to 
control such superiority of force (firearms, etc.) that their will has been 
too often imposed upon a people entirely against its desire and apart 
from any choice or demand upon its part for products offered. Instead 
of trading, the nations of a higher civilization have exploited, espe- 
cially when they were opening up a tropical region where they could 
not themselves sojourn for any considerable time (§§ 144-145). Be- 
sides all this, a multitude of other factors have, in later times, com- 
bined with that of trade ; and the result is that the separate action 
of any single one of these, including trade, can scarcely be estimated. 
Political subjugation and government, missionary activity, educative 
systems, and the rest, all enter now as factors, each hailed by its par- 
tisans as supremely beneficial for the uplifting of the benighted. 

The earlier civilizers had it more simply : they came into contact 
with groups of their own race, in their own climatic habitat. These 
groups were characterized by no obvious differences, and the stages 
of culture were separated by no impassable chasm. There was no 
" native-labor question." Apart from Rome, whose influence has 
been characterized, the metropolises (being cities or small countries) 
did not possess the power to subjugate utterly, but had perforce to 
exhibit tolerance and to do their teaching by example and suggestion 
rather than with the aid of the rod. And, above all else, their influ- 
ence was exercised unconsciously, and its results are thus referable to 


the interplay of natural forces rather than to the will of man. How 
far superior and how much more unerring in securing results these 
elemental forces are has already been explained (§ 141). 

But it is the firm belief of many that trade is still, with all its 
modern drawbacks, the prime agency in the spread of culture ; that 
if anything could, or can, uplift the lower races to a place where they 
can compete for and hold a position in the new world order, it is 
trade. In any case, the opinion is gaining ground that to effect any 
such elevation of the backward races the point of attack is that old 
one of trade — at the bottom ; medical and industrial missions, by 
their superiority over more purely religious ones, bear witness of 
this truth, for it is seen that the first education a savage needs is that 
which issues in bodily well-being and in production. But production, 
in any but a minimal degree, itself means trade. It is safe to say that 
exchange has been the greatest and will always remain a superlatively 
important agency for the elevation of the race. The more developed 
races are constantly uplifting themselves by the advancement of 
mutual trade relations. The development of such relations means 
the growth of understanding, tolerance, and sympathy, and the grad- 
ual dissemination of what each has among all ; it leads, through inter- 
national specialization and division of labor, to world cooperation in 
the struggle for existence and for a higher standard of living on the 
part of all civilized humanity. The trade in things means presently 
the exchange of ideas, not only those of a practical bearing, but also 
those which deal with art, music, and all the other higher forms of 
culture. So that, giving trade its due, — and no more, — it is cer- 
tainly fair to call it the " handmaid of civilization." 



205. Possibility of manipulation. Hitherto trade has been con- 
sidered as a sort of grand human expedient in the struggle for exist- 
ence, developed all but instinctively by men under certain natural 
conditions, thereafter to have a species of life of its own, and to run 
its course almost as a basic social agency. We have now briefly to 
consider in how far man can control the character and channels of 
trade in pursuance of certain purposes, short-lived or inveterate, wise 
or foolish, that he has conceived from time to time. 

In the foregoing much has been said of the determination by nat- 
ural conditions of the type and courses of exchange. In so far as it 
is thus controlled, its essential alteration seems all but impossible. 
Whatever New England hothouses may do they cannot raise bananas 
for the trade. In general, where nature has made a decision or a 
disposition, it has to stand. In saying this, however, we have not 
forgotten what has been said above concerning, for instance, the 
improvement of domesticated stocks or the transplantation of organic 
life, sometimes into regions widely remote from those of origin. 
Instances could be multiplied where governments have deliberately 
labored to free their subjects from the necessity of acquiring certain 
articles of commerce from beyond the bounds of their political group. 
The Agricultural Department of our own government has devoted much 
highly successful effort to the naturalization of certain food and fiber 
plants (§ 214). But the fact has been previously emphasized that such 
enterprises rest really upon skillful adaptation to natural conditions 
(cf. §§ 158-159); a certain plant may thrive only within a certain 
type of environment, but this does not imply that wherever that type 
is found, there the plant will be met with also. In any case such 
manipulation of trade as is represented by scientific enterprise of this 
stamp is not of the species which it is here intended to consider. 

As has also been seen in the foregoing, the character and course 
of exchange are determined, in the second place, by what has been 
called race character (§ 193). This term, so far as trade is concerned, 
covers the way in which human interests are felt and in which their 



satisfaction is sought. Hut such interests, when consciously felt, arc. 
not seen in the same light, as respects their relative importance, by 
all men at the same time, nor even by the same men at different 
times. And looking forward to the satisfaction of an interest that is 
felt in common, there may be great diversity of theory as to how it 
may be attained, or how best attained. In other words, there inter- 
venes between the interest and its prospective satisfaction a certain 
play of the human mind, with all its instability and fallibility. The 
scene is shifted from that which shows the massive, sure action of 
elemental forces ; these flow beneath all life, but on their surface 
there is a chance arbitrarily to modify this and that. Men can put 
many of their theories, right or wrong, into practice (§ 141). 

Trade is carried on by human agencies, and man can control and 
persuade man through superior force or otherwise, imposing the will 
of a majority upon a minority, or even of a small minority upon a 
less well-organized majority. Whatever the natural conditions of land 
or water ways, a government can say how much land transportation 
shall be taxed or whether ships may enter harbors or not. It can 
oppose a local form of production to its undoing, as Spain opposed 
agriculture, or it can foster a weak industry, not well adapted to a 
country, so as to secure it a profitable existence ; it can subsidize an 
honestly struggling or merely favor-seeking merchant marine. The 
operations of exchange have for centuries constituted a favorite field 
for the activities of social manipulators, philosophers, and prophets, 
to say nothing of politicians, schemers, and rascals in general. To go 
into all such activities of man in seeking to control production and 
exchange would require a volume. The facts are familiar to most 
people ; the only attempt here is to set them in some kind of general 
relationship to what precedes, so that the nature of trade can be the 
better apprehended. They are indicated here because it would seem 
unfair to pass them over. For further details of the modern system, 
up to which this part of the present volume is designed to lead, the 
reader is referred to succeeding chapters covering the data of mod- 
ern trade. 

Trade, then, except in its grand currents, is capable of being med- 
dled with by man — a privilege which the latter has used to the full. 
Yet, even on a relatively small scale, manipulation may be either 
entirely ineffective or fatal unless the nature of exchange is well 
known, and unless only such alterations are attempted as are consist- 
ent with this nature. A poetic keeper of bees says that man does 
what he will with them so long as what he seeks is "in accordance 


with their laws and their virtues " ; and the same principle is appli- 
cable to exchange. Some of the historical results of trade manipula- 
tion, now to be sketched, may render this contention more concrete. 

206. Taxation and regulation. Perhaps the simplest type of inter- 
ference with trade is that which takes place inside a tribe or state 
under the necessary form of taxation. This is really not interference 
— at least it is not intended, in the ordinary case, to alter the condi- 
tions of exchange. The eye is not upon trade, but upon fiscal policy. 
Trade, like all other interests, pays insurance premiums in the form 
of excises and various other taxes to the government ; it is thus 
secured, as a taxpaying person is secured, against the ills of lack of 
government. But such normal taxation may be extended under cer- 
tain conditions, and made into an instrument of assault or control. 
The objective is then the trade, not the treasury. Adherents of cer- 
tain parties would gladly tax certain forms of trade " out of business" ; 
the liquor traffic has been absolutely prohibited in some cases, and in 
others subjected to "high license." In the belief that certain large 
enterprises are not subject to such competition as may lower prices, 
certain people wish by law to fix these prices (e.g. railroad rates) at a 
lower level. Commissions of various kinds are generally at work in 
a modern state investigating or tinkering at the conditions of certain 
businesses with a view to their control. All this kind of enterprise 
ultimately affects trade, provided it does not aim at extreme alteration 
of conditions and so nullify itself. Whether such control is good or 
ill is a complicated question ; if it is too drastic, trade either dies 
beneath it, or crushes it aside and passes on. 

Such deliberate interference with the course or forms of trade is 
that to which we wish here to call attention ; it is due, as has been 
seen, to theory of some sort, that is, to some mental operation called 
forth in the effect of self-realization (§ 139). Such theorizing may be 
rational and based upon correct information, or it may be thoroughly 
irrational, based upon ignorance, misinformation, imagination, emo- 
tion, impatience, intolerance of sustained mental effort, preoccupation 
of one kind or another, and so on. We hasten to our illustrations. 
In the Middle Ages trade was cramped and restricted by regulations 
that had their origin in applications of scriptural texts wrought out by 
men ostensibly removed from the world and its doings (ecclesiastics) 
and thoroughly permeated by the unreal scholastic atmosphere. They 
were recluses, yet they lucubrated over trade ; they had taken vows of 
celibacy, yet they tried to control even the most private of conjugal 
relations ; and their results, in the one case as in the other, might 


appear in the highest degree ridiculous, if they had not been so per- 
nicious. One of their fundamental premises was that in a trade one 
party was sure to lose. Hence, since it was not likely that the profes- 
sional seller would be the loser, numerous prescriptions calculated to 
handicap the merchant as against the buyer were emitted. Under 
the influence of this sort of theory it became ignoble to engage in 
gainful occupation. Again, an immense amount of care was taken 
to fix upon various articles a "just price," which should then stand 
immutable. It was forbidden to buy in a place or time of abundance 
in order to make gain by selling in a region or period of scarcity. 
Since merchants were obliged to do all these things, and to evade 
prescriptions based upon visionary considerations, they fell as a class 
into a position of disrepute. Furthermore, the holy men forbade the 
taking of interest, upon the irrefutable thesis that money, not being 
an organic substance, could not reproduce itself. 

Naturally these and many other ordinances were constantly infringed 
and evaded, for we know that trade went on, though the enforcement 
of such regulations would certainly have destroyed it. Here is a case 
where regulation was so drastic, yet senseless, that trade crushed it 
aside and pursued its course. To illustrate how theory may swing 
entirely around and face the other way, it may be said that it is now a 
matter of persuasion that both parties to a trade may gain by exchange ; 
that buying in places and times of abundance (even where there is no 
delivery) to sell in places and times of scarcity tends to keep prices 
level, besides inciting to economies ; and that interest-taking is no 
longer "usury," a crime or misdemeanor practiced only by low-lived 
rascals. The Middle Ages were full of ridiculous theory regarding 
trade, of which the above are examples, because the thinking upon 
these matters was purely speculative and slavishly classical or biblical. 
Where reasoning of this type ran out at all into practical policy, as in 
Spain, the result was grave injury to industry and trade, while those 
nations which evaded and at length broke away from such precepts, 
and reacted against the theories behind them, were headed toward 
positions of commercial dominance. 

207. Militarism. Our present concern is chiefly, however, with 
inter-group exchange ; for we are interested, above all, in the most 
general aspects of trade. Here the first interference that deserves 
the name lies in the recurrence of that group hostility out of which 
inter-group exchange emerged, and which it then, reacting, helped to 
mitigate (§ 182). Primitive groups — which are generally on a foot- 
ing of mutual hostility — levy, for example, boundary and transit 


dues, often so heavy as to amount to partial or thoroughgoing con- 
fiscation. This is what the robber barons did to mediaeval commerce; 
they certainly rendered the calling of the trader a precarious one. In 
truth war and trade may form as good an example of antithetic terms 
as one could well find. Of all things trade demands security and 
peace ; and so it prospers only by extreme exception among peoples 
of a warlike and unsettled disposition, or in regions where the power 
of such is predominant. The general attitude of a military people is 
contemptuous of the arts of peace, and, among these, of trade. The 
seizure of Constantinople (1453) and of Egypt (1 5 1 7) by the Turks 
presently put an end to the thriving trade of the Venetians (§§ 187, 
196), for the rude conquerors despised the Italians and taxed their 
goods in transit so heavily as to destroy any adequate margin of profit. 
Arguments demonstrating beyond question the mutual advantages of 
the lowering of dues were made to deaf ears and to minds incapable 
of comprehension. Again, the military prepossession in Spain, joined 
with the religious, led to the oppression of the Moriscos (or conquered 
Moors) in the Peninsula, and later to an interference with industry 
and trade so intimate and searching as practically to destroy them 
both. The national distaste and contempt for industry thus devel- 
oped among the Spaniards has kept them nationally feeble through 
later centuries. 

Perhaps the most illuminating contrast in these matters is offered 
by the course of industrial and commercial development of England 
up, say, to 181 5, as compared with that of the Continent. There 
swept across the latter army after army, back and forth, until finally 
the Napoleonic period brought a general unsettling and rearrange- 
ment of the whole European system. Where armies were marching, 
industry of almost all kinds was extinct. Meanwhile, England had 
been free from all serious invasion or subjugation for several hun- 
dreds of years, and had steadily pursued the development of a set- 
tled and industrial economy. During the troubled times she really 
reaped benefits from the woes of others, and supplied the destitute 
or semi-provided continental peoples with the products of which they 
stood in need. She emerged finally as the predominant industrial and 
commercial world power ; and it admits of no doubt that her pros- 
perity rested upon immunity from invasion and internal strife (largely 
due to her island form) as much, doubtless, as upon any other factor. 

It might be contended that the antithesis of war and trade is one that lies in 
race character and social evolution, and so should not come under the topic of 
man's conscious control over trade. This is undeniably the case, if one is insisting 


upon strict order and sequence. But the consideration of the antagonism between 
group hostility and trade so well introduces the subject of control that it has been 
saved over to this point. 

It has been said above (§ 201) that the advanee of civilization 
brings increased tolerance as between groups. It even brings friend- 
ship. This is the result largely of trade relations. But it must be 
understood that "friendship" between nations is as yet far from 
being the same thing as that between individuals. No motives of 
self-renunciation and sacrifice enter into these group relations ; self- 
interest is the law of state action, and it is pursued in the impersonal 
and relentless style common to the great forces of nature and society. 
Consequently, when this interest is crossed, or seems likely to be, 
former " friendships " and alliances suffer change, and a total re- 
grouping of the same may take place. For the sake of pursuing its 
struggle for existence more successfully a state is willing to sacrifice 
its relations of amity forthwith ; it will suffer no slights or imposi- 
tions from its closest ally, if it is in a position to resist. Hence in 
the balancement of prospective good and ill, trade relations enter 
simply as one factor among many in the determination of hostility or 

208. National self-sufficiency. Monopoly policy. Inter-group trade 
relations have, then, been subjected to a variety of regulation in 
accordance with the necessity or policy of the time. A warring power 
cannot allow even a friendly neighbor to provision an enemy, and if 
he tries to do it, is ready to fight him as well as that enemy. And 
so arise the blockades, embargoes, and so on, that practically destroy 
commerce within the regions of their application. But this is crude 
and simple regulation, as befits a time of war. It is conceived to be 
a part of the duty of statesmen, during these ages when war stands 
little chance of being replaced by arbitration as the last resort for 
settling international difficulties, that their countries shall " in time of 
peace be prepared for war." This means that they shall aim to be 
self-sufficient, and, among other things, dependent economically upon 
nobody — that is, they must be ready to supply their own wants. If 
this condition were perfectly realized, there would be no need of 
inter-group trade at all, and, of a consequence, international special- 
ization of function would be of no utility whatsoever (§181); but 
as has been seen throughout preceding pages, there exist environ- 
mental conditions which preclude the perfection of such a consum- 
mation. Nevertheless, the ideal seems to have developed of realizing 
self-sufficiency to its utmost ; this attitude may not have prospective 


conflict actually in view, but it issues in the effort to strengthen a 
country's resources to the highest possible degree. In so far as this 
means the full development of its natural advantages, it cannot be 
complained of — quite the reverse (§205). It is only when it results 
in a net loss by thwarting the localization of production in the fittest 
places that it defeats its own ends, theoretically now, perhaps, but 
sometime in actuality. 

The determination to attain this self-sufficiency and to increase 
group wealth irrespective of any other considerations has led to a 
variety of forms of interference with trade. Of these we can give 
only a few typical samples. The earliest and crudest was perhaps 
the establishment of a closed monopoly : a primitive tribe, for 
example, strives to exclude all other tribes from participation in 
the use of the flint or salt deposits. Such action is to be expected 
of such actors, for selfishness is the prevailing attitude of mind in 
the painful early stages of the struggle for existence. In the restric- 
tion of actual trade the doings of the Mediterranean merchant 
peoples are but developments of the same tendency ; for, from 
Phoenician down, they consistently undertook to hold their rivals 
back (if they did not dare to attempt actually to destroy them) from 
the enjoyment of commercial advantage. Venetians and Genoese 
excluded weaker rivals and then used up their strength in opposing 
each other ; the former limited the German merchants in Venice by 
cooping them up in certain restricted quarters. The whole Italian 
policy demanded the resolute repression of all dissemination among 
the western peoples of knowledge regarding the ways and methods 
of exchange. Most of our stock trade restrictions found their proto- 
types in the pre-Discovery period, where they were developed as 
apparatus for the support of a policy of monopoly and exclusion. 

The most highly elaborated instance of this monopoly and exclu- 
sion policy is offered, however, by the imitators and successors of 
the Venetians: the Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch. 1 After the first 
of these had discovered a sea route to India, their king hastened to 
secure divine sanction of his absolute rights in the new trade region. 
A bull of the Pope, the representative of God on earth, was secured, 
which assured to the Portuguese the exclusive claim to all lands from 
Cape Bojador to the Indies. This monopoly was further supported 
by physical force, and the slaughter of foreigners who entered Portu- 
guese waters was the order of the day. There were no bounds to the 
extent and rigor of restriction. Then came the discovery of America, 

1 Cf. Keller, Colonization, Chaps. Ill ff. 


wrongly conceived to be the Indies, and Spain put in her claim to 
the sole possession of the new lands. The consequent dispute be- 
tween Spain and Portugal over their respective rights might look to 
settlement in two ways alone — through war or papal arbitration, invo- 
cation of the latter authority corresponding to what is now known 
as " the concert of Powers." Pope Alexander VI settled the counter- 
claims by establishing an imaginary demarcation meridian drawn 
north and south through the Atlantic ; all east of this line was a 
grand Portuguese sphere of influence, all west of it a Spanish. For 
many decades the actual or reputed power of Spain and Portugal, 
and the force of the papal sanction, left these two nations in nearlv 
absolute control of their half-worlds. Both now attempted so to 
organize their commerce within their areas as to derive the maximum 
profit for themselves and to leave as little as possible for others. 
The case of Spain may be taken as typical of both the Peninsular 
nations. Spain early established the policy of limiting all the trade 
with America to one Castilian city, Seville ; thus was the stream of 
exchange forced to pass through a " narrows " where it could the 
better be controlled and taxed. In America the corresponding 
"staple ports" were Vera Cruz and Puerto Bello on the Isthmus; 
while the Philippine trade lay strictly between Acapulco in Mexico 
and Manila. There was then founded in Seville an organ for the 
stricter control of commerce, a House of Trade (Casa de Contra- 
tacion), which exercised minute supervision over the routes, destina- 
tions, manner of sailing, passengers, freight, correspondence, etc., of 
the American traffic. Gradually the commercial movement of the 
year was limited, not only as to its terminals, but also as to the 
times and routes of sailing and the composition of the fleets. Par- 
tially, it is true, for protection's sake all the ships were obliged to go 
together, at specified times of the year, and accompanied by a convoy 
of war vessels. These were called the Fleets and Galleons. The 
corresponding arrangement for the Philippines was a single vessel 
(nao), voyaging once each year between Acapulco and Manila. Natu- 
rally this concentration of trade in space and time led to the obsolete 
system of fairs at the American terminals, especially at Puerto Bello ; 
thus the whole commercial movement of the year was artificially 
crowded into a few weeks of intense excitement and uproar, which 
was bounded upon both sides by a long "dead time." The essential 
artificiality of the system may be seen from the following typical 
example of its working : no direct trade being allowed between Spain 
and Buenos Ayres, the products destined for the latter region had 


to go to Puerto Bello, across the Isthmus to Panama, down the coast 
to Lima, and then eastward across the continent to their destination. 
Thus the system was one of monopoly within monopoly. The exclu- 
sion inclosing the whole was that against non-Spaniards, and this 
was enforced at the mouth of the cannon and with the aid of the 
executioner ; next there was the more local exclusion of the colonists 
(who were treated practically as dependents or even foreigners) in 
favor of the Peninsulars ; then, more locally still, the exclusion of 
other Spaniards in favor of Castilians ; and finally of other Castilians 
in favor of the merchant favorites of Seville. Trade was contorted 
this way and that to provide for all these concentric circles of 

209. Results and decline of monopoly policy. Here certainly was 
an attempt on the grand scale to control exchange. It is unnecessary 
to pursue it further into its more petty and whimsical regulations. 
The thoroughness with which this system was enforced by the 
Portuguese and Spanish makes it, in its outcome, a shining example 
of the destiny of trade regulation on the large scale. For such a 
monopoly contained within it that which made for its own destruc- 
tion ; the more perfect and effective it became, the more did it tempt 
infringement and aggression. The secrecy of its methods and the 
ostentation of its power stimulated the imagination and cupidity of 
the excluded nations ; the concentration of the yearly booty in the 
fleets from the East and America constituted a temptation hard for 
the Dutch and English to resist ; the system of regulation and con- 
sequent oppression in the new countries stimulated the colonists and 
natives to make common cause with freebooters and smugglers. It is 
very significant that the revolution of the Spanish colonies in Amer- 
ica had its stronghold in the once isolated, later contraband-sought, 
Buenos Ayres (cf. § 146). The unnatural conditions of the Seville 
monopoly injured the rest of Spain, and both the Peninsular states, 
partly in consequence of the reaction of their trade policy, began 
already in the sixteenth century a decline from a position of world 
dominance to one of insignificance and humiliation. Their retrogres- 
sion is in good part an object lesson in the destiny of those who aim 
crudely to confine the forces of exchange under a prearranged arti- 
ficial system. Strenuous efforts in this direction exercised through 
generations did not attain their object, or attained at most partial 
realization, only to lose everything almost at once. The forces of 
trade finally had their way ; dammed up by a strictness of repression 
never before encountered on such a grand scale, the stream of trade 


finally broke through into the regions prepared for it by natural con- 
ditions and the natural interests of men. But this new course passed 
the Spanish by, and the less theory-ridden and more adaptable peo- 
ples attained to commercial supremacy. 

The case of the Dutch is similar. Upon the collapse of the Portu- 
guese and Spanish monopolies, the Dutch now became the dominant 
commercial nation. Their former facility in adaptation, however, soon 
stiffened into conservatism almost as intense as that of their pred- 
ecessors ; they instituted the same policy of exclusion, and again 
attempted to confine the currents of exchange within selected chan- 
nels. This they did chiefly through the agency of their chartered 
corporations, the East and West India companies, which became the 
prototypes and models of many later trade organizations. Their chief 
interest was, like that of the Spanish and Portuguese, the preser- 
vation of their granted monopoly ; they also illustrate with special 
clearness another feature of the older monopoly policy, the attempt to 
control prices. For, in contradistinction to business policy of the pres- 
ent day, the older system contemplated the making of large profits 
from a small movement of goods, rather than of a slight margin 
of gain per unit of commodity from a large movement. Hence the 
attempt to limit production represented by the expeditions which the 
East India Company sent out to uproot clove and coffee trees and 
pepper plants, and the wholesale burning or burial of spices when 
the European market seemed likely to become stocked. The whole 
story of the Dutch companies is one of uninspired and dismal self- 
seeking, of exclusion on the large and the petty scale, and, when the 
policy had ground itself into the national life, of commercial dishonor. 

As is well known, the fate of the Portuguese and Spanish monop- 
oly holders overtook the Dutch as well. Encroachment and internal 
disorganization, corruption, and bankruptcy brought the great compa- 
nies to an ignominious end after about two centuries of activity. 
Such monopolies have now passed away, for the development, among 
other things, of means of communication has rendered the policy of 
secrecy and of isolation, based upon force, impracticable. The mod- 
ern delimitation of "spheres of influence," in Africa, is but a later 
and more formal way of saying, " Keep off ! " but the development 
of custom, succeeding the rise of new conditions, has rendered the 
old crude dog-in-the-manger policy rather unpopular. The "freedom 
of the sea" and similar expressions, even though they are partly 
hypocritical, are modern watchwords, corresponding to actualities 
that would not have been tolerated in 1500. 


These attempts to control trade would seem in retrospect to have 
had in them no promise of success. It would appear from the fore- 
going cases, and from others which might be cited, that trade has its 
own laws and ways, and that the attempt to control it, at least on a 
large scale, is fraught with difficulties and dangers. The comment is 
sometimes passed upon such trade policies that they were "too arti- 
ficial." What this means is that they did not take into account the 
nature of trade, realizing that conditions of physical environment and 
of human interests are ultimately determinative both of the type and 
the courses of exchange, It would now be pretty generally admitted, 
in principle, that the old policies were "false" and "wrong," or, as a 
scientist would much prefer to say, outgrown and utterly unfitted to 
modern conditions. Such rude manipulation of trade was natural and 
inevitable in the setting of its time, though it now appeals to us as 
irrational and tyrannous in the extreme. It certainly was not so con- 
ducive to trade development as something less stringent and primitive 
would have been ; but it was the system of the age for all the most 
prosperous and successful peoples, with only here and there a dis- 
senter, born before his time, to oppose it. The modern system, what- 
ever its superiorities, could not have been put into operation at that 
time ; its incoming has demanded much and varied development 
along many lines of social life. It has demanded above all progres- 
sive realization, instinctive or rational, of the importance of the limits 
set to trade manipulation by natural forces. This realization has 
stimulated some men at least to the actual study of exchange in 
order to attain to a wiser adaptation of methods to results derived. 
Enlightened attempts to deal with trade are not so much in the line 
of out-of-hand control as in that of direction in accordance with its 
own " laws and virtues." 

210. Protectionism. Thus, though the attempt to control trade 
has not been given up, it has attained, at least in some cases, a more 
refined and less obvious background, and regulation of competition 
has taken its place. That the latter may practically amount to exclu- 
sion, and may even lead to at least the threat of open hostilities, 
betrays the relationship of the contemporary and the obsolete. By 
way of building up local industry and commerce, the state is thus 
led to impose handicaps upon foreign products in the form of cus- 
toms dues. These are not, in theory or practice, dues " for revenue 
only," imposed upon the foreign products that could not possibly (in 
the physical or in the commercial sense) be produced in the country 
levying the tax ; they are intended rather to raise the price at which 


the foreigner can sell so that the local producer cannot be underbid. 
They are tariffs "protective" of local production. Their very object 
is to control production and exchange so that these shall not pursue 
their " natural course." What they plan, then, is a rearrangement of 
areas of supply, which is, it need not be said, an attempt to exert 
definite control over trade, its materials and routes. 

It is not intended here to pass judgment upon these projects 
excepting as the effort is made to show where they come into the 
history of trade. It is evident, first of all, that they are dictated by 
national as distinguished from cosmopolitan aims ; they are the prod- 
uct of local rather than of large-scale social evolution. The welfare 
of the state levying duties is the only thing considered. There is 
at times, however, a distinct hostility to the foreigner expressed or 
implied, which recalls the older and more blunt views ; it is thought 
that he is being made to pay taxes to the levying government. Of 
course he is not, for if he could not add the duty to his price, and 
so continue to make a profit, he would take his goods elsewhere. 
The protective policy is always instituted in favor of the local pro- 
ducer, and it is hoped that the consumer's income will be sufficiently 
increased to make up at least for the difference gained by the pro- 
ducer in consequence of high prices. In any case the concern of 
honest protectionists is for their own country, and that alone. There- 
fore, for weal or woe, this particular method of controlling track- 
opposes the general trend of trade development, which has through- 
out history operated to localize production where it can most easily 
be done, has thus gradually effected a specialization of function based 
upon ever larger units, and has, in the course of doing these things, 
gradually introduced tolerance and even friendship between nations. 
Inevitably the practical man who has his eye on national or even 
local development would regard any " cosmopolitan " aspect of the 
case as the dream of a visionary. 

We are fully aware — as who could not be, in this country? — of the argument 
for trade regulation which asserts the virtual helplessness of an fr infant industry," 
however favorable otherwise its conditions, in the face of organized competition 
of older rivals. It is not relevant to our subject to touch upon the deep political 
corruption and social evils connected with trade manipulation calculated to do 
away with this natural disability ; least of all do we wish here to argue the local 
case. We merely note that, judging from the course of trade development, return 
to regulation on a large scale, and based upon some grand system or upon local 
interests, means retrogression ; and that action of this kind that is motived by 
latent distrust or hatred of the " foreigner" makes for a continuance of the old 
group hostility from which civilization claims to be emancipated. The fact that 


freedom of trade is prized highly so long as it exists inside of national boundaries, 
however rude these may be, seems to indicate that hostility between political 
groups lies near the root of restriction. Freedom of trade is desirable as between 
Maine and California, Oregon and Florida, but not as between Maine and Canada, 
Florida and Jamaica, Texas and Mexico. Again, granted that certain new indus- 
tries (fostered during their first years only) become strong and independent, it is 
but natural that fallible human judgment — even if sincere — shall have made its 
mistakes (cf. § 141). It is questionable whether favorable results of manipulation 
are not more than overbalanced by the calling into being of non-viable industries 
which may then prove to be a burden upon already thriving enterprises, and amount 
to a dead loss to the nation. What this means is that when human wits set them- 
selves too confidently to work to " reorganize" some great social institution, their 
results can never in reason be expected to correspond to their intentions, however 
lofty and patriotic these latter may be. We do not advocate a let-alone policy, — 
such a policy, whatever its theoretic strength, is not fated to be put in execution, 
men being what they are, — but we do support the view that trade manipulation 
should be intelligent, careful, honest, non-political, and not based upon con- 
fused or irrelevant motives. 

211. Mercantile creeds. Much of the elaboration of the present 
chapter's topic is the function of the economist, but one other impor- 
tant type of trade control may be mentioned. This is found in the 
so-called Mercantile System, a combination of economic theory and 
practice dominant a century and a half ago, and even now unre- 
nounced, though no longer professed, in several of its aspects and 
precepts. Perhaps the crudest of the dogmas of this system was 
that which conceived a country's wealth to be practically the same as 
its stock of precious metals, or, as it is more loosely put, which rested 
upon the identification of money and wealth. This has been called the 
" bullionist " policy. Assumed that that country is richest and most 
prosperous which could lay hand upon the greatest amount of the 
precious metals, the inevitable outcome was a manipulation of trade 
to secure the local presence of these desirable articles. Hence the 
struggle to possess a "favorable balance of trade," that is, a surplus 
of exports over imports ; for the difference in such a case must 
be paid in money by some ill-starred country into the treasury of the 
fortunate one. Naturally, again, if the fortunate exporting country 
could carry its own products, there was no call for an outflow of the 
metals to pay transportation charges. Here arose the distinction be- 
tween "active" and "passive" commerce; those who delivered goods 
to the buyer and carried back what they themselves bought, possessed 
the former, while the sluggish customers who allowed goods to be 
brought to them were unenviable in that their trade was " passive." 
These theories led out into applications and corollaries in the colonial 


field, whereby colonies were obliged to occupy the unfavorable posi 
tion in trade. The colony was to subserve the interests of the 
metropolis ; hence it must raise what the latter desired, and must accept 
payment in what the latter produced. England, being a manufacturing 
country, therefore desired of the American colonies that they should 
raise the raw materials she needed and abstain from manufacturing 
even some of the least important articles. These would be furnished 
in payment for the raw materials of agriculture and of other extractive 
industries. Thus there would exist a desirable complementary relation 
between sections of the empire. Again, the carrying trade should be 
mainly in British hands, this forcing the colonies to remain relatively 
"passive." Such ideas were widely applied, as any treatise upon eco- 
nomic history would show. And there were other lesser applications 
of the Mercantile System that fall into line with those mentioned. 

This system is now regarded in theory as antiquated and even ridic- 
ulous (cf. § 212). It met opposition and overthrow toward the end of 
the eighteenth century. It is scarcely a coincidence that the theoretical 
and the practical opposition to its doctrines and practices crystallized 
in the same year, 1776, which saw the publication of Smith's "Wealth 
of Nations" and the American Declaration of Independence. At any 
rate for England, which put the system into execution very rigorously, 
there resulted the loss of the Thirteen Colonies ; and the opinion of 
competent scholars is that reaction against English attempts to con- 
trol trade was prominent among the motives of revolt. 

212. Trade policy lies in the folkways. The examples given of 
attempts to control the nature and paths of trade are perhaps suffi- 
cient to demonstrate the fact that exchange is not a thing light-heart- 
edly to be tampered with. Trade can be helped or regulated, but only 
by actions radically based upon knowledge of its nature. It might 
here be stated that almost any consistent regulation is better than 
constant change in regulation ; success in trade depends so largely 
upon accurate forecasting that any recurring interference with condi- 
tions causes miscalculations and loss, and the expectation of it induces 
a mood of timidity and hesitation. This is why trade, and business 
conditions in general, are commonly in a state of unrest every four 
years, and sometimes every two years, in the United States. Trade 
policy of some kind is generally behind our elections, and security 
is often threatened. 

But, to return to the topic of the control of trade, there is yet a 
larger aspect from which it may be viewed. It could be shown that 
the various trade policies are entirely natural in the setting of their 


time — indeed, are largely inevitable. For example, the monopoly sys- 
tem of the Dutch chartered companies was anything but palatable to 
the Netherlanders of 1600, for many distrusted and opposed monop- 
olies. However, it was first of all necessary to accumulate capital for 
the East India projects, and in amounts hitherto unknown except in 
the hands of sovereigns, of whom the Dutch had none. It was like- 
wise seen that the isolated smaller companies competed with each 
other in so destructive a manner that all profit was likely to be sacri- 
ficed. It was necessary to centralize and to give the dominant organi- 
zation an exclusive title to its field. In other words, in the setting 
of its time the East India Company was inevitable. If, now, such an 
organization for the restraint of trade was thus inevitable in the evo- 
lution of trade, it seems in a sense futile to deprecate the tampering 
of man with these matters ; in fact, this same tampering seems to be 
part of the evolutionary process. 

This view of the matter falls in with the principles of human and 
social evolution with which we started (§§ 138-140). It has been 
seen that social evolution proceeds through the persistence or selec- 
tion of variations in human action that have their seat in the brain. 
But the particular way in which a group sets out to react upon a cer- 
tain problem of environment may or may not be rational (cf. § 141) ; 
certain classes may impose their unreason upon the policy of their 
times, as did the ecclesiastics of the Middle Ages. To secure the ap- 
propriate policies, therefore, is a matter of securing enlightenment and 
of proportioning the influence of classes. It is, above all, a matter 
of breadth of outlook, that the policy of the time may not reduce 
itself — as the tariff policy in this country has so often done — to a 
matter of interest-legislation. What is blameworthy in the past trade 
prescriptions is chiefly the result of ignorance and rapacity. Each 
nation that attained supremacy in trade acquired it through its adapt- 
ability to conditions, and through its resulting position as protagonist 
of a new age ; and its decline from such eminence has been due very 
largely to stereotyped methods — in a word, to self-satisfied and igno- 
rant maladaptability to a changing environment. But this too is natu- 
ral in human affairs. A policy once found good, or thought to be 
good, is not lightly abandoned ; inertia in the form of a conservatism 
that, rightly or wrongly, refers to the past for the justification of a 
persisting policy is wont to repress or deflect adaptive variations. 
We are here involved in the eternal tangle of social evolution — in 
the apparently senseless forward-pushings and hangings-back of the 
life of human society. Men pursue their real or supposed interests 


in certain " ways" ; if these cause too much discomfort, they turn to 
other ''ways"; but the changing complexity of the motives and 
interests that move them renders an orderly evolution apparently 
impossible. All that can be said is that beyond their plannings and 
efforts lie the elemental forces which control all organic life, and 
which will enter at a crisis to exercise vigorous selection over both 
men and their ways. 

Trade is in and controlled by these " folkways," 1 and like the rest 
of its kind it is, within certain ranges, uncontrollable by the rational 
effort of man. Environmental conditions such as climate absolutely 
determine its form and movement. Man can exercise a considerable 
influence over its more local manifestations, but his efforts, in order 
to produce wholesome results, must take origin, not in religious or 
political prepossessions, but in expert knowledge of the subject. He 
can secure the best results by realizing the lasting limitations under 
which he must work and by falling in with the operation of natural 
law as he has come to see it through education and reason. There is 
no need of constantly repeating the errors of the past, of periodically 
reanimating long-exploded fallacies ; if there are to be errors they 
should at least be new ones. 

213. Summary of Part II. In recapitulation of the argument of 
the foregoing section of this book, we first introduce man as a spe- 
cial kind of animal, set down in an environment or in one of several 
types of environment (as described in Part I and amplified in Part II, 
ChapterVIII). Man was forced, along with other animals, to adapt him- 
self to natural conditions. But, unlike the other animals, he possessed 
a specialized adjusting organ in the brain, and so not only escaped 
the need of constant bodily adaptation, but was enabled besides to 
spread over the earth as no other organic being, unendowed with his 
capacity of adaptation, could have done. Contact with different types 
of environment (climatic, organic, etc.) developed, notwithstanding, 
clearly marked types of efficiency in the struggle for existence, i.e. 
higher and lower types of civilization. But one of man's peculiar and 
characteristic adaptations calculated to ease the struggle for existence 
was developed in the form of group division of labor and function ; and 
this naturally drew in its wake an inter-group exchange of products. 
Trade, largely supplanting war, rose up in all parts of the earth as a 
human habitude, and took on more effective forms as it became a 
settled institution. This agency naturally varied in its progress and 

1 For the nature of these factors of social evolution, see W. G. Sumner. Folkways. 


character according as it was set in motion in one or another environ- 
ment, physical or human (social). It began to function as a grand 
factor in the further development of the civilization with which it 
arose, and has acted as a sort of prerequisite for the evolution of the 
modern type of culture. It has been the object of much attention on 
the part of men, who, by their manipulations, have been able to alter 
its type and course to some degree, or even to thwart and ruin it in 
certain regions, or for a certain time. It is one of those great factors 
in human society which are conditioned ultimately in natural law , 
and the only chance man has of wholesomely "directing" it is to 
study its nature and remove such obstacles from its path as he can, 
basing his interference purely upon rational grounds, and exercising 
it with discrimination and tact. 

We now pass on to the data of modern trade, out of which many 
of our foregoing principles and contentions are derived. We hope to 
be able to interpret or to suggest the interpretation of our commercial 
data in such manner as to leave them before the reader in the guise 
of something better than a mass of unrelated facts and figures. 



We have seen in Part I the nature of the physical environment 
against which man is forced to react in the struggle for existence, 
while Part II has been concerned, in the main, with a discussion of 
the character of the responses made by man, under comparatively 
simple or primitive conditions, to one and another of the factors 
constituting the environment. There still remains to be considered 
the influence of these factors — physical, economic, political, and 
"human" — upon production and trade, under the complex con- 
ditions of modern civilization. It is a well-known fact that the 
elaborate industrial organization of the leading commercial nations 
of to-day has placed civilized man in a better adjustment to his en- 
vironment than are his less advanced brethren in other parts of the 
earth. As a consequence of this, and of the complexity of personal 
and group relations in these days of great material development, the 
influences of the various factors affecting production and trade are 
less obvious and are harder to trace out than is the case under more 
primitive conditions where trade relations are reduced to their lowest 
terms. Nevertheless, it is the main contention here put forth that, 
even in our own day, man continues to be subject, in a greater or less 
degree, and always in the last analysis, to the various environmental 
influences with which he finds himself surrounded. 

In no field of human activity are these of greater significance than 
in that of modern commerce, but, as a rule, they have failed of due 
appreciation. The idea of studying the streams of trade and their 
ultimate constituents in the light of the influences controlling them, 
rather than in the twilight of bald statistics, is a comparatively new 
one. Such being the case, it is in no way strange that the data so 
far accumulated for explaining the phenomena of production and 



exchange arc incomplete and inadequate. The study of definite le- 
gions of the earth, with the local human activities in view, is addi\^ 
to the store of information already at hand; and, as time goes en, 
sufficient knowledge will be available, it is hoped, progressively to 
illuminate the field. 

The present writers are not laboring under the impression trat 
they — or anybody else — have traced out to completion all, or nearly 
all, the influences with which they or others might think it well to 
reckon in a treatment such as that which follows. A discussion of 
the leading facts and relations of modern trade is attempted, with 
such explanations and illustrations as seem necessary to keep the 
point of view of the authors continually before the reader — this is 
the object at which Part III is to aim. If the reader is a business 
man, doubtless many additional influences of the various environ- 
mental factors upon the matters under consideration will be sug- 
gested to his mind ; while if he is a teacher with initiative, he will 
be able to lend additional interest to the day's assignment by com- 
ments and examples supplementary to the text. Of necessity, in 
such a comprehensive subject, considerable leeway must be given 
to the teacher ; and this latitude we should not seek to abridge, even 
if it were practicable. 

With regard to the method of treatment which we have followed, 
it will be observed that no attempt has been made to cover the whole- 
field of trade nor to discuss all of the materials of commerce, as is the 
case with most of the text-books on commercial geography. Atten- 
tion has been given, primarily, to the three great commercial nations, 
— the United States, the British Empire, and the German Empire. 
This field is sufficiently large to illustrate the fundamental principles 
upon which we believe the study of commercial geography should be 
based, and to yield a representative body of data on trade. Again, 
instead of discussing the distribution and production of commercial 
commodities first and then proceeding to deal with the various geo- 
graphical divisions in order, it has been thought best to combine the 
two methods in one, treating each important product in detail under 
the particular country which leads in its production or, in some cases, 
in its elaboration. For obvious reasons this rule could not be adhered 
to strictly ; consequently, if one country leads in only one or more 
commodities of a group, in some cases the other members of the 
same group are considered at the same time. Moreover, since the 
whole study is more or less centered around the United States, a 
tendency has been felt to treat as many topics as possible under this 



country. It is hoped that such procedure has resulted in less repe- 
tition and in less scattering of material than has often been the case 
in the past. Finally, inasmuch as there are various materials of 
commerce — some of them of great importance — which are pro- 
duced, either exclusively or predominantly, outside of the political 
limits of the United States or the British and German empires, 
there has been added a chapter in which some of the more impor- 
tant of these commodities could be treated. 



214. Plant immigrants. The original distribution of those species 
of plants which have been domesticated by man was exceedingly 
unequal. The Old World and the New did not share alike (§§ 159, 
160) ; of 247 different species studied by De Candolle, 199 were 
native to the former, 45 to the latter, and 3 were doubtful. Some 
countries, such as Patagonia and South Africa, seem not to have been 
the home of any of the cultivated plants. In the whole territory now 
included within the limits of the United States the only plants worth 
cultivating were the artichoke, pumpkin, and squash. Moreover, 
the only important cereal indigenous to the Americas was maize 
(cf. § 217), whose native habitat seems to have been in the highlands 
within the tropics whence its culture spread to the north and to the 
south. All the evidence points to its wide use by the aborigines long 
before the arrival of Columbus. 

All of the cereals now so widely cultivated in the United States 
have therefore been introduced from abroad, and the same is true 
of a large proportion of the other cultivated plants. Excepting the 
forest trees, grasses, forage, and drug plants, the native flora of the 
United States have played but a small part in the material develop- 
ment of the country. At first the process of plant introduction was 
comparatively slow. The early Spanish, Dutch, English, and French 
settlers brought over a few species, and, in course of time as the 
necessity or opportunity arose, wheat, barley, oats, rice, cotton, hemp, 
flax, sugar cane, beans, cabbage, etc., were brought in and planted in 
an environment substantially the same in the case of each plant as 
the original habitat (§ 160). An adaptation to the changed conditions 
of soil and climate has resulted, in many instances, in an improve- 
ment on the original stock ; but, even where this has not been the 
case, wide departures from the introduced types have resulted from 
the changed environment. Such excellence of results has attended 




this work and so large has become the yearly production of this 
country's vegetable products that many persons forget that the wheat, 
corn, and tobacco belts are covered with a vegetation that is as truly 
descended from immigrant stock as are the planters themselves in 
those regions. 

Nor has the work been completed ; it is now carried on, rather, in 
accordance with a thoroughly systematic plan. The federal govern- 
ment, through the Department of Agriculture, has come to the 
assistance of earlier individual undertakings. It has a division in 
the Bureau of Plant Industry, called " Foreign Seed and Plant Intro- 
duction," whose principal business is to seek out in foreign countries 
and replant here new varieties of our principal farm crops, as well as 
new species of vegetable products hitherto not grown in the United 
States. The various state experiment stations cooperate with the gov- 
ernment in testing the adaptability of imported plants to the different 
agricultural regions of the country. Many attempts to naturalize new 
species fail ; many do not. The numerous varieties of soils (§72) and 
the wide ranges of temperature and rainfall in this country are dis- 
tinct advantages in that they widen the possibilities of replanting 
successfully introduced species of every variety from the tropics to 
the cold temperate regions. Some recent successful accretions are 
durum wheat from Russia, the Smyrna fig, Kiusiu rice from Japan, 
the Corsican citron, and alfalfa from Turkestan and Arabia. Experi- 
ments now in progress bid fair to establish in the United States the 
growth of many other desirable food products hitherto associated only 
with foreign countries. The outcome of the efforts of all kinds to 
develop the country's agricultural resources is that the United States 
now leads the world in the annual value of farm crops produced, the 
yield being about 20 per cent of the world's total output. 

In endeavoring to account for our preeminence in agriculture, 
a number of factors should be considered. Among these are the 
fertility of the various kinds of soils (Chapter III); the diversity of 
climatic conditions (Chapter V) making the successful culture of a 
great variety of crops possible ; the energy and resourcefulness of 
the population ; governmental activity and private initiative in the 
matter of scientific agriculture ; and the excellent facilities afforded 
for marketing the crops at home and abroad. 

215. Leading farm products. In the United States, largely because 
of its high natural advantages, agriculture continues to be the domi- 
nant item of national wealth, although system and good business man- 
agement are less highly developed in this occupation than in the other 


great industries. Over one third of the labor force of the country is 
employed in this basic occupation. In 191 2 the value of all farm 
products, at that point in production where they acquired commercial 
value, was $9,500,000,000. This figure is 40 per cent greater than 
that for 1906, 50 per cent above 1905, and 55 per cent above 
1904. A correspondingly large quantitative production has accompa- 
nied this rapid increase in the money value of agricultural products. 
Consequently, the problem of moving the crops to market has resulted, 
at times, in congesting the freight traffic of the railroads and steam- 
ships (cf. § 308). The leading crops of the United States with the 
approximate farm value of each for 191 3, and the percentage which 
this figure shows above or below the average value for the previous 
five years, were as follows : 

Percentage above (+) or 

p Farm Value below (-) the average 

(000,000 omitted) value for the previous 

five years 

i. Corn $1,692 +9 

2. Cotton (including seed) . . . 798 — 4 

3- Hay 797 +5 

4. Wheat 610 +1 

5. Oats 440 +7 

6. Potatoes 228 +9 

7. Barley 96 —12 

8. Tobacco 122 +30 

9. Sugar beets 1 and sugar cane . 60 

10. Flaxseed 21 —40 

11. Rye 26 ......+ 4 

12. Rice 22 +17 

13. Buckwheat 10 —20 

14. Hops 15 


216. Cereals in general. Among the great variety of food-stuffs 
for both man and beast the cereals occupy an important place. In 
general, they belong to the widely diffused grass family ; many of 
them have been domesticated from very early times and some have 
never been found in a wild state. The most important cereals are 
maize, wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, and sorghum (including the 
millets). Buckwheat, though not strictly a cereal, may for conven- 
ience be classed here. In the different countries one or more of 

1 The value of sugar beets alone was about #34,000,000 ; and the estimated value 
of Louisiana cane sugar was $26,000,000. 

2 Seventeen per cent above the average for the previous three years. 


these constitute the staple diet of the masses. In China and Japan 
rice occupies first place, and the same is true of rye in northern 
Europe and of wheat in Great Britain and the United States. From 
time immemorial the cereals have occupied the largest share of the 
land under cultivation. In 191 2 the cereal yield of the United States 
was 5,609,000,000 bushels, having a value of $3,000,000,000. The 
average yield during the previous five years was much less than in 
191 2, although the value for 191 2 was 16 per cent above the average 
for the same period. 1 

217. Maize. Maize, 2 or Indian corn, is known among botanists as 
Zea Mays, and is the grain of a large plant of the grass family, 
which is characterized by hollow stems and solid joints. A proof of 
its great antiquity in America is given by Darwin, who found, on 
the shores of Peru, ears of maize buried in the soil to a depth of 85 
feet. Soon after the discovery of America the grain was introduced 
extensively into the Old World within the limits of climatic conditions 
necessary to its culture. But no country has, as yet, surpassed the 
United States in its production, nor, since its extensive cultivation 
in the United States following the early settlements, has any country 
been our serious rival. 

This cereal is known under a variety of names. In America it is 
generally known as corn ; in Great Britain it is called either maize or 
Indian corn ; in Turkey, Egyptian corn ; in Holland and Hungary, 
Turkish wheat ; in central France, Spanish corn ; in Egypt, Syrian 
durrha ; and in South Africa, mealies. 3 It should be remembered 
that there are numerous varieties of maize, over 300 in all. These 
vary in their chemical composition, some containing an abundance 
of starch, others of oil. They also differ greatly in the size, shape, and 
color of the kernel, the color varying from white to purple, while some 
varieties are even striped. All of these differences have been brought 
about by breeding and selection (§§ 157, 158), and by the diversity 
of environmental conditions under which growth for long centuries 
has taken place. 

Maize is used as a food by both man and beast, but the greater 
proportion of the world's crop is used for stock feed. This is true 
especially in the United States where enormous quantities of fodder, 

1 The percentage area devoted to the production of each cereal, as shown by the 
twelfth census, may be seen by referring to the Appendix, Table I. 

- Maize (Indian, Mahiz) is said to be an Arawak word, and so of South American 

3 Cf. Freeman and Chandler, The World's Commercial Products, p. 50. 


of the raw grain, or of the manufactured corn meal are fed to cattle, 
hogs, and poultry. This is why the exports of corn are relatively so 
small as compared with wheat, in spite of so little being used as 
human food. Moreover, its low price per bushel compared with its 
weight tends to prevent its being sent to distant markets, Our corn 
exports, therefore, are largely in the form of meat products. The 
ears of the unripened corn of the sweet varieties, after being boiled, 
are used in this country as a table delicacy. In some lands, such as 
Mexico, Central America, Italy, and Egypt, maize is still used as the 
national food. In parts of Mexico it is ground in simple household 
mills and made into cakes called tortillas. In Italy a porridge 
called polenta, made from the poorly ground grain, is eaten as a 
regular part of the daily diet. In general, the most cultured people 
of the leading western nations prefer wheat to corn or rice as a 
staple breadstuff, and on account of the struggle for existence being 
less strenuous here than in such countries as China and India, they 
can afford to consume the more expensive cereal, wheat. 

Among the important factors controlling the successful cultivation 
of corn are temperature, sunshine, rainfall, and soil. 1 The crop be- 
comes a commercial success only when these factors are properly 
combined, and it is scarcely possible to state the influence of each. 
That of temperature is more or less indirect, but it makes itself 
most felt near the northern limits of successful culture, where, if it 
is too cold during the growing months, the plants will not mature. 
The yield per acre of corn is influenced greatly by the quantity and 
distribution of rainfall, the most favorable conditions being occasional 
heavy rains with much sunshiny weather intervening. The best soil 
for this crop is one which is drained easily and which does not bake 
in dry weather. While the above gives, in general, the climatic and 
soil requirements for a good yield of maize, it should be remembered 
that there are many types of the cereal which are adapted to an en- 
vironment varying widely from the norm. Bearing this in mind, an 
examination of the extensive area in the United States east of the one- 
hundredth meridian with reference to soil and climate would show 
why such a large part of it is suited to corn culture (cf. §§ 61,64). 

The accompanying diagram (fig. 23), concerning the progress of corn 
culture in the United States, shows, graphically, the enormous increase 
in production that has taken place in successive decades since 1850. 
The decrease between i860 and 1870 is accounted for by the check 
to production caused primarily by the Civil War. In the fifty years 

1 For a full discussion, see Hunt, The Cereals in America, pp. 202-217. 



following 1850 the increase of output was 350 per cent. Since the 
opening of the present century there has been no decline in the rate 
of increase. At the present day corn easily leads as our most valu- 
able crop, as also in acreage and quantity produced. The principal 
corn-producing states are Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, 
Indiana, and Missouri, and the territory included in these states 
may properly be called the corn belt (cf. § 72). Here two thirds 
of all the corn produced in the United States is raised ; the average 
yield per acre is under thirty bushels. According to experiments 
made by the United States Department of Agriculture it seems pos- 
sible, within a few years, to double the average yield per acre with 
little increase in work or expense. This will be done by better adapt- 
ing particular varieties to the most suitable environment. It is in the 
southern states, where the present output per acre is small and where 
the growing season is not shortened by frosts, that the best field for 



5 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 







Production of Corn in the United States, 1850-1916 

expansion exists. The probable outcome of these experiments will 
be a selection of the areas best adapted to corn culture, and an aban- 
donment of the others unless the demand is greatly increased. 

Although corn can be grown in many countries, its extensive culti- 
vation is confined, at present, almost entirely to the United States, 
which yields four fifths of the world's crop. Argentina, Mexico, and 
the countries of southern Europe are the other largest producers. It 
is from Argentina that we may look for the greatest future foreign 
developments in the production of maize. Some even anticipate that, 
in the not distant future, Argentina will surpass the United States in 
yearly output. 1 

218. Wheat. Botanically, wheat belongs to the grass family (§ 217) ; 
some very near relatives are rye, barley, and the noxious couch grass. 
Its original home is not known, but, with a reasonable degree of cer- 
tainty, it was in central Asia, probably in the Euphrates valley. Its 
culture reaches back to prehistoric times, since grains of wheat have 
been found in the ruins of the lake dwellings of Switzerland. Other 

1 The average annual production of maize in bushels by continents from 191 1 to 
1913 inclusive is shown in the Appendix, Table II. 


evidences of the great antiquity of its cultivation are that the Chinese 
we/e growing it as early as 2700 b.c; that old manuscripts and 
legends have frequent references to the grain ; and that different 
names for the commodity are found in the oldest languages. 

Without going into the complicated question of the varieties of 
wheat, of which, by 1895, the United States Department of Agri- 
culture alone had collected a thousand, it may be said that there are 
eight principal cultivated types. 1 The genus which includes them 
all is called Triticum, and the relationship of these types is here 
shown : 

Monococcum (i) einkorn 
(Spelta (2) spelt 
dicoccum (3) emmer 

( vulgare (4) common wheat 
J compactum (5) club or square-head wheat 

Triticum \ Sativum - 

I Utrgidum (6) poulard wheat 
V durum (7) durum wheat 
Polonicum (8) Polish wheat 

Einkom is cultivated most commonly in Europe where other wheats will not 
flourish. It is used chiefly for mush and for cattle food rather than for bread. 
Spelt was the type extensively raised by the ancients, particularly by the Egyp- 
tians, Greeks, and Romans. Spain is about the only country in which this type is 
now raised ; it is used for cattle feed. Emmer also has been cultivated from very 
early times, but now its production is somewhat limited. It is still grown, how- 
ever, in parts of southern Europe as a summer crop. It is much more hardy than 
spelt, having great resistance power against drought and rust. The most unfav- 
orable conditions of soil and climate produce a fair crop, although a dry prairie 
region with a hot short summer seems to be the most desirable environment. 
Consequently, emmer has been attracting considerable attention in the United 
States where it has become the object of successful experimentation. The pos- 
sibilities of its profitable culture in the semi-arid regions of the Great Plains, in 
portions of North and South Dakota, where the commonly grown varieties often 
are damaged by early frosts in autumn or by late freezing in spring, are very 
promising (cf. § 43). Common wheat is the type best known to the masses, and 
is the kind that covers the greatest area in the wheat-growing regions of the world. 
Club or square-head wheat differs only in minor particulars from the common 
type. Its head is short and compact, and the straw short and stiff. These quali- 
ties enable it to withstand rough treatment either from the elements or during 
harvesting. It is grown in Chile, Turkestan, Abyssinia, and in the Rocky Moun- 
tain and Pacific Coast states of the United States. Poulard wheat is being experi- 
mented with in this country. Its culture, at present, is confined to the dry regions 
around the Mediterranean and Black seas. It is strikingly similar to the durum 
varieties, although botanically a distinct type. Durum wheat is a type introduced 
from Russia and Algeria. The experiments in connection with the seed brought 
from the former country seem most promising. Durum is known by many as 

1 See the discussion in Hunt, The Cereals in America, pp. 47-55, f rom which the 
table and many of the following facts are taken. 



macaroni wheat, since, in Europe, great quantities of macaroni are manufactured 
from the durums; bread made from the flour of durum wheat has an agreeable 
flavor but a color somewhat resembling rye bread, and for this reason it is less 
desirable for flour, on account of long-established customs, than those wheats 
whose manufactured product makes a white bread. Experiments tend to establish 
the fact that the durums are peculiarly suited to the soil and climate of large areas 
of this country. They adapt themselves readily to regions of scanty rainfall, and 
are notoriously resistant to drought and heat. Durum is, therefore, a wheat for 
the dry lands where the common varieties grow poorly or not at all ; its resistance 
against cold, however, is not so marked. If the soil is rich, the yield is prolific, 
and, in general, the crop is surer and the yield greater than is the case with our 
ordinary varieties. Moreover, the plant is less troubled by pests than are the 
common varieties. The extension of its culture in the United States should result 
in a great increase in the manufacture of macaroni and a corresponding decrease 
in the importation of this commodity. Polish wheat, resembling rye in general 
appearance, may have originated in Spain where it is cultivated extensively. The 
straw is almost solid and grows to a comparatively great height (4 to 5 feet). The 
yield is small and the grain is used chiefly for making macaroni. In several 
respects its life conditions resemble those of the durums — hence its adaptability 
to our arid regions. 

Wheats are further classified as "soft " and " hard," "spring" and 
"winter," "red," "white," etc. In general, the soft kinds which 
contain a relatively large proportion of starch are used for making 
flour. Good results are often obtained at milling by mixing soft and 
hard wheats. The hard varieties are used much more for the manu- 
facture of macaroni than for flour, being rich in gluten or proteid. 
All of the types of wheat described above, excepting emmer, have 
both spring and winter varieties. There is no hard-and-fast line, 
however, in this seasonal classification, for a winter wheat may be 
sown in spring with good results, and vice versa. 

Introduced into the New World from the Old, the culture of wheat 
has spread so widely that to-day the United States leads in the annual 
production, the output being nearly one quarter of the world's total 
product. The census returns show that between 1850 and 1900 the 
increase in our wheat production was over 550 per cent. Europe, 
however, leads the continents in yearly output, yielding more than one 
half the world's total crop. 1 

The largest yield of wheat in any single year in the United States 
was in 191 5, when the total product aggregated 1,01 1,000,000 bushels. 
The yield for 19 12 fell short of this figure by 248 millions of bush- 
els, but it was 9 per cent more than the average yield for the previ- 
ous five years. This enormous production is due to a combination 

x The yield by continents and by countries is shown in the Appendix, Tables III 
and IV. 


of causes, of which the most important are adaptability of soil and 
climate (cf. § 64), economical methods and the best machinery for 
farming, and the excellent organization of the service, though now 
somewhat inadequate, for marketing the raw or manufactured product. 

The states which produce the greatest number of bushels are Minne- 
sota, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Washington, Indiana, 
South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, California, and Oregon. 
Of these, the first nine (excluding Washington) grow nearly 60 
per cent of the total yield and they may be said to represent the 
present interior wheat belt (cf. §64). At the 12th census Minnesota, 
North Dakota, and South Dakota had the greatest per capita pro- 
duction (cf. § 43). In fact, in these states wheat was the leading agri- 
cultural product, although the yield per acre was only medium. The 
present center of wheat production is some distance west of Des 
Moines, Iowa; since 1850 it has moved westward nearly 700 miles 
and northward about 100 miles. 

The wheat belt of the Pacific coast embraces the wheat-producing 
lands of California, Oregon, Washington, and northern Idaho. The 
grain grown in this section is different from that produced elsewhere 
in the country, being white and of a soft and starchy content. The 
conditions of soil and climate are such that other wheats, when grown 
in this habitat, lose their individuality in two or three seasons and 
take on all the characteristics of the standard white grain of this 
region. 1 This case alone affords a striking example of the effective- 
ness of environmental conditions in changing the character of a 
commercial plant. 

Most countries do not produce sufficient wheat to meet the national 
demand ; hence the international trade in this commodity and its 
manufactured products is large. Wheat may be sown both in spring 
and fall with good results. Fortunately, the geographical distribution 
of the great productive areas is confined neither to one continent nor 
to the northern or the southern hemisphere. Consequently, a wheat 
harvest, of greater or less extent, is being gathered each month of the 
year in some country or set of countries. This is shown by the follow- 
ing calendar : 2 In January, in Australasia, Chile, and Argentina ; in 
February and March, east India and upper Egypt ; in April, lower 
Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mexico ; in May, Algeria, central Asia, China, 
Japan, and Texas ; in June, Turkey, Spain, southern France, Cali- 
fornia, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas, Utah, and Missouri; 

1 Holmes, Wheat Growing in the Pacific Coast Region of the United States, p. 20 

2 This calendar is given in Edgar, Story of a Grain of Wheat, p. 191. 


in July, Roumania, Austria- Hungary, southern Russia, Germany, 
Switzerland, France, southern England, Oregon, Nebraska, southern 
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, 
Michigan, Ohio, New York, New England, and eastern Canada ; in 
August, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, Poland, western 
Canada, and the Dakotas ; in September and October, Scotland, 
Sweden, Norway, and northern Russia ; in November, Peru and 
South Africa ; in December, Burma and Argentina. 

219. Oats. Oats belong to that tribe of the grass family known as 
Avence, a tribe distinct from the Hordecz, to which wheat, rye, and 
barley belong. The plant has never been found in a wild state ; more- 
over, all attempts to determine its native habitat have baffled the 
inquirer. De Candolle 1 believed that all the varieties of oats were 
derived from a prehistoric form which was a native of eastern temper- 
ate Europe and of Tartary in western Asia. Their earliest cultivation 
reaches back to prehistoric times, for oats have been found among 
the remains of the Swiss lake dwellings. It is believed, however, that 
they were not cultivated until long after wheat and barley, so that 
they played a smaller part in the earlier life, of the human race than 
did these cereals. 2 They were grown little, if at all, in the Mediter- 
ranean region before the beginning of the Christian era. 

Oats require for their best development a cooler climate than 
wheat or maize, together with considerable moisture. They are grown 
with good results in northwestern Canada in latitude 62 ° 30', and in 
Norway even as far north as 65 °. Both the outward character of the 
plant and the seed, as well as the chemical composition of the latter, 
respond to the peculiar conditions of soil and climate in the regions 
where it is grown, or to breeding and selection. The continent which 
produces the greatest quantity of oats is Europe, because, on the 
whole, it satisfies better the peculiar climatic and other conditions 
necessary for the growth of this crop. In an average year its output 
is about two thirds of the world's crop. 3 

The country of largest production, however, is the United States, 
whose annual crop varies from over 900,000,000 to above 1,000,- 
000,000 bushels. From 1850 to 1900 the increase was nearly 500 
per cent. European Russia is a very close second, while Germany 
follows next in order with an average yield which is rather more than 

1 Origin of Cultivated Plants, p. 376. 

2 Hunt, The Cereals in America, p. 314. 

8 The average annual production of oats in bushels, by continents, from 191 1 to 
1913 inclusive is shown in the Appendix, Table V. 


one half that of the United States. The figures of the last census 
show that the principal oats-producing states are in the north. In fact, 
more than 90 per cent of the yearly output at that time grew north 
of the thirty-sixth parallel, and over 85 per cent in the North Central 
and North Atlantic States ; Illinois and Iowa continue to be the 
largest producers. 

This cereal is used for food both by man and beast, although, pri- 
marily, it is a stock food. For man it is used principally in the form 
of oatmeal, which is manufactured from the kiln-dried grain after remov- 
ing the husks. The common use of oatmeal is a comparatively recent 
custom, a habit which doubtless has had a great deal to do with pop- 
ularizing the present long list of M breakfast foods." 

220. Sorghum. Sorghum includes a great variety of cultivated 
plants. Much confusion exists as to the names and classification of 
these ; many of them are commonly known in the United States as 
millets. Hunt's classification x divides the sorghums into three groups : 
(1) The sweet or saccharine varieties, whose juice contains much 
sugar, known as sorghum {Sorghum saccharatiam). These are culti- 
vated either as forage plants or for making sirup, but they do not 
contain sufficient sugar to make their production for the latter purpose 
a profitable industry. (2) The non-saccharine varieties, which are culti- 
vated primarily for their grain. They are also grown extensively as 
forage crops. Here are included Kafir corn, African millet, Indian 
millet, durrha, milo maize, Jerusalem corn, Guiana corn, and Egyptian 
rice corn. (3) A second group of non-saccharine plants, known as 
the broom corn varieties. They differ from the other sorghums in 
that their seed heads are much longer, straighter, and have stronger 
branches. This difference has been brought about consciously, by the 
process of selection, and the commercial value of the plant lies in this 
characteristic. The plant is cultivated for the " brush " or seed heads 
which are used in making brooms. 

The native habitat of sorghum was probably tropical Africa. From 
here its culture spread into Egypt before the dawn of history. Later 
it was introduced into China. 2 It is a tall maize-like plant without ears, 
having a terminal head of small seeds. It is grown most profitably 
in a climate where the air is hot and dry. Kafir corn, for example, 
though usually grown as a substitute for maize, has numerous advan- 
tages over the latter in hot, dry regions. It is therefore specially 
adapted to those regions of the West where the maize crop is 

1 The Cereals in America, p. 382. 

2 De Candolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants, p. 382. 


uncertain. Owing to the above conditions, its culture is spreading in 
the semi-arid regions of Kansas, Oklahoma, etc. 

The seed of sorghum is smaller than the seed of the other cereals 
so far considered. It is commonly called millet, and is one of the 
cereals most widely employed as human food ; it is estimated that 
one third of the people of the globe use it as a regular article of diet. 
Moreover, the extensive use of the crop for forage throughout the 
world should not be overlooked. No reliable statistics of the world's 
production are available. 

Saccharine sorghum was introduced into the United States shortly 
after the middle of the nineteenth century. Kafir corn, a native of 
South Africa (hence its name), was introduced into this country in 
1885 by the federal Department of Agriculture. It was first distrib- 
uted widely in the southern states, but was raised with little success ; 
soon it was tried farther north, with better results. Frequently the 
whole crop is used for fodder. The yield of seed is from 35 to 50 
bushels per acre. Flour from Kafir corn is used to a limited extent, 
but the bread is rather inferior. Better results are obtained by mix- 
ing its flour with that of wheat for biscuits and pancakes. It is most 
widely used, however, in this country for forage ; usually the ' value 
of the forage crop (over $5,000,000) is very much more than that of 
the grain product. The former is grown most extensively in Kansas, 
Texas, and Oklahoma ; the latter, in the same states and California. 

In 1899 broom corn was grown in 40 states and territories, al- 
though Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Iowa, 
California, and Tennessee produced 96 per cent of the total crop. 
Ten years earlier Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri raised 89 
per cent of the whole. In 1909 over 78,000,000 pounds were pro- 
duced in all, averaging 240 pounds per acre ; the average price was 
6 cents per pound. A ton of broom corn makes about 1 200 brooms 
of the ordinary size. 


221. Hay. Under the general heading of Hay are included numer- 
ous " cured" crops used for feeding farm animals. Most of the plants 
cultivated for hay are grasses or legumes. Of these, the best known 
are timothy and several species of clover ( Trifoliiim), such as common 
red, alsike, and crimson. Also many of the plants grown ordinarily 
for other purposes are often produced for hay ; this is true of oats, 
barley, rye, etc. The first, if cut immediately after heading, makes 
excellent hay. Alfalfa {Medicago sativd) is rapidly coming into the 


first rank both as a hay and as a forage crop. It is a leguminous per- 
ennial plant, native to western Asia, whose culture spread into western 
Europe. The Spaniards then brought it to Mexico, whence it found 
its way to the west coast of South America, and finally, in 1854, 
was brought to California from Chile. It seems to have been known 
and cultivated in the eastern part of the United States previous to 
this date, but, owing to poor results obtained, its production was 
unimportant. It is known as lucerne in the East and as alfalfa else- 
where in this country. The plant is especially adapted to irrigated 
lands ; it has spread over the sub-humid areas of the Pacific coast 
and Rocky Mountain regions. Only in the West and Southwest has 
its culture reached any great proportions. 

222. Forage. The term "forage" is used with a great variety of 
meanings. In its widest sense^it includes all such animal foods as 
grain and root crops, as well as hay, straw, and ensilage. More 
properly, however, forage refers to a crop in which the whole plant, 
in a green state, is used for food. For example, oats would be con- 
sidered a forage crop if cut green and fed without being cured ; on 
the other hand, if after having ripened they were harvested and 
threshed, they would be called a cereal crop. Forage, as was seen 
in the case of hay, consists largely of grasses and legumes. Of the 
former, maize, Kafir corn, millet, oats, and barley are the most 
important ; while the latter include alfalfa, soy beans, cowpeas, etc. 

At present about 1 5 per cent of the improved lands of the United 
States are used for producing hay and forage, varying from 33 per 
cent in the North Atlantic States to 5 per cent in the South Atlantic 
division. Hay ranks third (cf. § 215) amongst the crops of the 
United States in farm value, being surpassed only by corn and cot- 
ton (including seed). During the past few years great changes have 
occurred in the hay and forage crops on account of the opening up of 
prairie lands hitherto unbroken. The further extension of the culture 
of alfalfa will greatly increase the production of hay and forage, for it 
often yields more than double the average crop of clover. 


223. Introductory. It is necessary at the outset to distinguish 
between vegetable and animal fibers. A simple test may be made 
by burning the fabric : from the former a light, powder-like ash is 
left ; a crisp coal from the latter. Animal fibers include wool and 
silk, and will be treated elsewhere (§§241, 363, 411). Vegetable fibers 


are derived from hundreds of different kinds of plants, although the 
principal commercial ones are obtained from less than fifty cultivated 
varieties. The fibers that figure most extensively in the world's trade 
are comparatively few in number. They include the cottons, flax, 
hemp, jute, Manila, sisal, New Zealand hemp, Mauritius, istle, and 
ramie. For our purposes they may be classified conveniently as 
follows : 

1 . The cottons. 

2. Soft fibers — flax, hemp, jute, and ramie. 

3. Hard fibers — Manila, sisal, New Zealand hemp, istle, and 

224. The cottons. The cotton of commerce is a comparatively short 
fiber, from one-half inch to two and one-half inches in length, borne 
on and surrounding the seeds of the plant, which are contained in 
pods or "bolls." These burst open at maturity. The seeds are brown 
or black and are about the size of small peas. The bolls are irregular 
in shape and vary greatly in size, those of medium dimensions requir- 
ing about seventy-five to make a pound of raw cotton. Under the 
microscope the fiber looks like a " collapsed fire hose, spirally twisted." 
Consequently, the separate lints naturally cling to each other, and can 
be made into a strong thread. 

The cotton plant belongs to the mallow family (Malvacece) ; its 
near relatives are the common wild mallow and the golden hollyhock. 
The plants which bear the cotton fiber belong to the genus Gossyp- 
2 urn, and they are either herbs, shrubs, or small trees. The differ- 
ence in size is the least important distinction from a commercial point 
of view, for the really important differences are in the fineness, length, 
strength, and color of the fiber. Originally the cottons probably were 
perennial. Now they are commonly cultivated as annuals, even where 
the climatic conditions are not sufficiently severe to kill the plants in 
winter. A great deal of confusion exists regarding the proper botani- 
cal classification of cottons. This is due both to an imperfect knowl- 
edge of various original species and to the fact that the cotton plant 
responds quickly to a changed environment. De Candolle l notes 
more than three distinct species, yet he discusses only Gossypium 
hcrbaceum, G. arboreum, and G. barbadensc. The same three classes 
are recognized by Linnaeus. The first of these species is mentioned 
by De Candolle as probably native to India. It is impossible to say 
when its culture began. To Alexander the Great is ascribed the 
spread of cotton culture from Asia into the Mediterranean countries 

1 Origin of Cultivated Plants, pp. 402-411. 


of Europe where it was grown before the opening of the Christian 
era. The circumstances connected with its transfer to America are 
not known. This introduced species, however, is the one most ex- 
tensively cultivated in the United States to-day under the name of 
American upland cotton. G. arboreum, or tree cotton, was native to 
tropical Africa, probably upper Egypt. Since linen was the most 
commonly used textile during the early Egyptian civilization, the 
inference is that cotton was not cultivated at an early date in Egypt. 
The third species, G. barbadense. or Barbados cotton, was a native 
of the New World, but exactly where the plant was indigenous is a 
matter of conjecture. Some writers mention Mexico, others the West 
Indies. When America was discovered the Indians were cultivating 
and using the cotton plant over an extensive area stretching from 
Mexico to Brazil, and from the West Indies to Peru. 

From the practical standpoint of both the producer of the raw 
commodity and of the manufacturer there are to-day five types of 
cotton. These are American upland, sea-island, Egyptian, Indian, 
and Peruvian. This list, it is to be remembered, includes only the 
well-recognized types. Many interesting and promising results have 
been obtained by crossing various of the above varieties. 

225. American upland cotton. This is the kind most extensively 
raised in the United States and, consequently, the variety that figures 
most widely in the world's trade. As already mentioned, De Candolle 
regards it as probably introduced here from Asia via Europe. Some 
writers, however, consider it as a descendant from a New World 
species. 1 The same species is now cultivated successfully in Persia, 
India, Russian Turkestan, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. In the United 
States cotton was first grown in Virginia, towards the close of the 
first quarter of the eighteenth century. Its culture was confined 
almost entirely to that state and the Carolinas until about the year 
1800. The growth of the industry was very slow. In the earlier his- 
tory 7 of its production the fibers were separated from the seeds by 
hand ; the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, in 1 794, 
greatly stimulated the industry. The same is true of the inventions 
made a few years earlier in Great Britain by Hargreaves, Arkwright, 
and others. 

The world's cotton crop in recent years has been between 17 and 
23 million bales of 500 pounds each. The United States contributes, 
roughly, two thirds of this amount ; British India and Egypt rank 

1 Hunt, Forage and Fiber Crops in America, p. 326; Freeman and Chandler, The 
World's Commercial Products, p. 331. 



second and third respectively, the three countries producing about 
four fifths of the world's crop. 1 

The development of cotton production in the United States since 
1790 is shown in the table below. 2 The cotton belt of the United 
States (fig. 24) is about 1450 miles long (east to west) and, approxi- 
mately, 500 miles in width, and includes all of the southeastern states 
from North Carolina to Texas inclusive. Practically the whole upland 
crop grows in the region south of the 37th parallel and east of the 
1 ooth meridian (cf. § 64). Of the 448,000,000 acres included in 


Fig. 24. Cotton-producing Areas of the United States 
(After Map in Bulletin No. 135, United States Bureau of the Census) 

this area, only about i in 17 is devoted to cotton. Not only is it 
possible to increase the cotton acreage considerably, but, by giving 
attention to the selection of seed, fertilization, and cultivation, the 
possibilities of swelling the total crop are enormous. The regions 

1 Figures showing the cotton yield by countries are found in the Appendix, TableVI. 

2 Cotton production for stated years, 1790 to 1916: 


Bales of 500 pounds each 


Bales of 500 pounds each 

























i8 4 q 





of greatest production are, chiefly, the alluvial area of the Mississippi 
valley and eastern Texas and scattered portions of South Carolina, 
Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. The percentage of the total crop 
grown in each state is shown by the diagram on the map (fig. 24). 

226. Sea-island cotton. This plant is a native of the New World, 
and it is the Gossypium barbadense of botanists (cf. § 224). Its 
fiber surpasses that of all other cottons in length, fineness, and value ; 
hence quality rather than quantity determines its commercial impor- 
tance. The supply is limited, and during the last few years the 
average annual production has been under 100,000 bales, or less than 
i per cent of the total cotton crop of the United States. As a result 
of recent expert scientific investigation it is believed that not only 
may its production be greatly increased, but that its quality also may 
be still further improved. 

The finest staple is grown on the sea islands, chiefly John, James, 
Edisto, and Wadmalaw, along the coast of South Carolina (cf. § 62). 
In Georgia and Florida the coastal counties produce scarcely any 
cotton, this being due largely to the unfavorable character of the 
country and the consequent predominance of other industries. The 
interior counties of both these states yield large quantities of sea- 
island cotton ; they produce also a good deal of the upland type. 
Although the crop of sea-island cotton varies greatly in different 
years, on an average Georgia produces approximately 50,000, Florida 
33,000, and South Carolina 11,000 bales. 

Most of the sea-island cotton is grown on that type of soil known 
as " Norfolk fine sand." Humidity exercises a considerable influence 
upon the quality of the staple ; those fields on the sea islands which 
have an ocean exposure are said to yield a staple exceptionally fine 
and glossy on account of the damp winds. Much care has to be 
exercised in planting upland and sea-island cotton together, lest the 
superior qualities of the latter be weakened by hybridization. How- 
ever, good results have been obtained by carefully selecting and propa- 
gating certain promising hybrids. The type known as long-staple 
upland is a derivative of sea-island 1 obtained in this way. It is culti- 
vated with good results in the rich alluvial soil of the Yazoo delta in 
Mississippi, as also in many of the other states in the cotton belt. 

227. Other kinds of cotton. Egyptian cotton, also, is believed to be a deriva- 
tive of the sea-island type which has become modified considerably in a changed 
environment. It should be remembered, however, that indigenous varieties were 
grown in Egypt centuries ago, although systematic production did not begin 

1 L. H. Dewey, Principal Commercial Plant Fibers. 


until about [820 when the present variety was introduced. The peculiar charac- 
ter of its fiber, which, in commercial value, stands midway between sea-island and 
long-staple upland, makes it especially adapted to the manufacture of hosiery and 
mercerized goods. This is why we import Egyptian cotton to the value of 
510,000,000 yearly. At present this variety of cotton is grown exclusively in 
Egypt, but experiments made by the United States Department of Agriculture 
:( I. § 214) have established the practicability of growing it successfully in various 
parts of the South. Planters, however, are prejudiced against it, owing to the 
small size of its bolls as compared with upland types; moreover, manufacturers 
will hesitate for a long time to take up the use of this staple when derived from 
any other region than Egypt. 

Indian cotton is a native of southern Asia. The plant itself differs from 
American upland in that the stem is more slender and less woody than the latter 
and the bolls are smaller and more nearly spherical. The fiber is coarse and 
short, ranging from a half inch to an inch in length, making it less desirable than 
American upland. Of some varieties the lint is glossy white ; of others it is 
yellow or even golden brown. When exported it is used for coarse yarns and 
for mixing with other varieties of Cotton ; the imports into the United States are 

Peruvian cotton is often called kidney cotton from the fact that the seeds in 
each of the three divisions of the boll cling together into a more or less kidney- 
shaped mass. The seeds are black and the fiber is shorter, coarser, and more 
wiry than that of American upland. In some instances it closely resembles wool. 
Moreover, the lint varies greatly in color, ranging from white to brown. This 
type of cotton is cultivated for commercial purposes chiefly in Brazil and Peru, 
although it is found in Central America, the Philippines, and in various tropical 
islands in the Pacific. When imported into this country the South American 
cotton is used chiefly for mixing with wool. 

Soft Fibers 

The soft fibers, including flax, hemp, jute, and ramie, are often 
called bast fibers. This is because the fiber consists of the bast or 
inner and fibrous portion of the bark. In general, they are flexible 
and of soft texture, consisting of many overlapping cells borne in 
the inner bark of the plants. 

228. Flax. The flax plant {Linum usitatissirnum) is an annual 
whose native habitat was probably in western Asia between the 
Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. According to De Candolle, this 
plant replaced an earlier perennial type that was cultivated in Switzer- 
land and northern Italy by the lake dwellers before they knew the 
use of hemp. It appears to have grown wild south of the Alps. 
The succeeding annual was introduced into northern Europe by the 
Finns, and into other parts of Europe by the western Aryans ; 
doubtless the Phoenicians also spread its culture here and there in 
their travels. 


Flax was one of the earliest plants cultivated for fiber, and from 
the very beginning of authentic records until the use of cotton 
became common in the nineteenth century, flax was employed more 
extensively for fabrics than any other vegetable fiber. The ancient 
Egyptians and the Hebrews made common use of linen. The flax 
plant is found among ancient Egyptian drawings, and the bandages 
encircling the mummies are said to be mainly of linen. 

It should be remembered at the outset that this plant is the source 
of two distinct commercial raw products of great value, namely, the 
fiber and the seed. The former is obtained from the stalk or straw 
and is noted for its strength, firmness, and length, ' varying from 1 
to 3 feet. There is little or no foundation for the popular belief 
that the best fiber is in the lower stem or root. 1 The seed is ex- 
tremely rich in oil (linseed) which has superior drying qualities, 
making it a valuable ingredient of paint and varnish. It also figures 
extensively in the manufacture of oilcloth, printer's ink, and patent 
leather. It seems impracticable to get from one crop both the best 
seed and the most valuable straw. When the plant is cultivated 
for the fiber, from 2 to 4 bushels of seed per acre should be 
sown ; the crop must then be harvested by pulling the plant up by 
the roots before the seeds are fully ripe. This both impairs the 
quality of the seed and reduces the quantity. On the other hand, 
when the plant is to be grown primarily for the seed, but one half to 
three quarters of a bushel of seed to the acre should be sown, and 
the crop may be reaped ; this method of culture will result in an 
increased output of seed, but the straw will be too coarse to yield a 
good fiber. Consequently, as a business undertaking, flax is generally 
raised the world over either for the fiber or for the seed. In the 
European countries the former is the primary object ; in the United 
States the latter is the prevailing motive of culture. 

Flax was one of the first agricultural products to be introduced 
into the New World. There are records of its being cultivated within 
a few years after the settlement of Plymouth. It was introduced origi- 
nally solely for its fiber. The invention of the cotton gin in 1794 
was followed by the introduction of cheap cotton, which soon began 
to supplant linen ; consequently, a check was given to the produc- 
tion of flax for fiber in the United States, and soon its cultivation 
for the seed began. This movement has continued until to-day this 
country, in some years, occupies the first place among the flaxseed 

1 Bolley, " Flax Culture," in Farmers' Bulletin No. 274, 1907, p. 24, United States 
Department of Agriculture. 

Vegetable products 271 

producers in the world. 1 Shortly afterwards the manufacture of lin- 
seed oil was commenced ; and by 1810 there were 283 small linseed- 
oil mills in the United States, 171 of which were in Pennsylvania. 

Flax culture in this country has never been followed up according 
to scientific methods. The scene of its production has continually 
shifted, each community sooner or later abandoning it as a regular 
crop, in full assurance that it was exhausting to the soil. Experi- 
mentation has clearly shown this to be a fallacy ; the real cause for 
the degeneration of the crop after the first year is the presence in 
the soil of microorganisms. The most deadly of these is called 
Fusarium lint, which is introduced into the soil primarily by the 
seed ; if the latter is treated by the formaldehyde method, the disease 
will be prevented, provided the soil is not already infected. The crop 
grows best in the cooler parts of the temperate zone. In general, 
so far as the seed crop is concerned, the climatic and other condi- 
tions best suited to its culture are similar to those best adapted to 
successful spring-wheat cultivation ; and it is significant that the 
areas of largest production in this country are found in the wheat 
belt of the Middle West. 

Since the production of flax for fiber is now practically unknown 
in this country, the various processes involved in harvesting the crop 
and in separating the fiber from the straw will be discussed else- 
where (§ 406). As will then be seen, the production of flax for the 
fiber calls for an intensive system of culture, and the separation of 
the fiber from the straw requires hand labor disagreeable to the last 
degree. " The reason why the American farmer does not produce 
flax fiber is not to be found in any obstacles from climate or physical 
conditions. His labor would yield as much flax, absolutely, as that 
of the European cultivator. He simply finds that his labor yields 
more in other branches of agriculture." 2 Besides, our farm laborers 
are so accustomed to the extensive system of cultivation and to the use 
of machinery that they shrink from adapting themselves to the 
methods necessary for the successful production of the crop for the 
fiber. 3 Here we have a case of the human or " habit " element. 

Hard Fibers 

The principal hard fibers, including Manila, sisal, New Zealand 
hemp, istle, and Mauritius, are often called leaf fibers in that they 

1 See the figures for flaxseed production in the Appendix, Table VII. 

2 Taussig, The Tariff History of the United States, pp. 406-407. 

1 For further discussion of the soft fibers, see §§ 376, 406, 407, 408. 


are borne in the tissue of the leaf or leaf stem. They are compara- 
tively long, varying from i to 12 feet in length. In general, they 
are stiff and woody, and are less flexible than the soft or bast fibers. 1 


229. Introductory. A country which has extensive forest areas is 
at a great advantage in the struggle for existence (cf. §§ 149, 155, 
194). This is because no other part of his environment has been 
more extensively utilized by man or has entered more intimately into 
his life economy. Even our remote ancestors found their homes 
already provided for them in the trees ; and locomotion was made 
easy, owing to the possibility of swinging from one branch to another. 
For primitive man the forests were a ready source from which food 
and shelter could be provided ; even the scanty clothing of some 
tribes was made from the bark of certain trees (cf. § 155). The devel- 
opment of the art of navigation was* largely conditioned upon the use 
of wood or bark to provide the vehicle of transportation (cf . § 292). In 
fact, in all stages of civilization, from the lowest to the highest, man 
has depended upon the forest environment to satisfy many of his 
diversified wants. As a source of supply for fuel and light, wood is 
now less indispensable than in times past when coal, oil, and natural 
gas were unknown, but at present it is the only fuel used in many 
countries. Until comparatively recent times lumber and its finished 
products were the chief source of building materials for houses, barns, 
factories, offices, wharves, ships, etc. — in a word, of many of the 
visible signs of material progress. 

The greater quantity of commercial forest products is obtained 
from the extensive forests of the north temperate zone, which stretch 
from the arctic circle to the thirtieth parallel, although the tropical 
and subtropical regions furnish numerous woods of peculiar value for 
less general purposes than those subserved by the woods of the North. 
The United States was bountifully supplied by nature with the most 
useful and staple varieties of trees. This has been one of the strong- 
est factors contributing to the great material progress of the nation 
in the nineteenth century. At the present day we are the foremost 
wood-producing country in the world, Canada and Russia being our 
principal rivals. Roughly, the timbered areas of the United States 
are found in several groups of states of which the following are 
important to note: (1) the Northeastern; (2) Southern; (3) Great 

1 For a discussion of the hard fibers, see §§ 323, 369, 376, 409, 410. 


Lakes ; (4) Rocky Mountain ; (5) Pacific. Conifers and hard woods 
predominate in the first three fields ; conifers alone in the others. 
At present spruce, white pine, hemlock, and various hard woods, nota- 
bly hickory, oak, and maple, are found in the first group. Four gen- 
eral types of forest prevail in the Southern States, varying, roughly 
speaking, with the altitude. Cypress and hard woods are found 
throughout the swamps and the lower sections of the river valleys 
of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The balance of the coastal plain 
from Virginia to Texas was originally forested with yellow pine. The 
lower slopes of the Appalachians and the encircling plateau are cov- 
ered with hard woods, while higher up on the mountains are conifers, 
of which spruce, white pine, and hemlock predominate. The south- 
ern part of the Great Lakes region contains considerable hard wood. 
In the northern section pine, tamarack, cedar, and hemlock occur. 
Western yellow and lodgepole pine are the chief timber trees of the 
Rocky Mountain forests, while in the Pacific States is found an abun- 
dance of Douglas fir, hemlock, pine, cedar, and redwood (cf. § 68). 

230. Annual output of forest products. The present yearly drain 
upon our forests for commercial purposes is shown by the following 
table compiled by the United States Forest Service. 

Annual Output of Forest Products 



Lumber (board feet) 



1 5,000,000 

Firewood (cords) 

Shingles and laths 

Hewed crossties 

Cooperage stock 

Pulp wood (cords) 

Timber exported (unsawed) 

Mine timbers, posts, poles, and other products . 

The above represents no less than 50,000,000,000 board feet. It 
does not take into account the enormous quantity of wood consumed 
locally for fuel and other domestic purposes, nor of the depletion of 
extensive areas by fire. Taking into consideration all the possible 
drains upon the forests, it has been stated by forest experts as a con- 
servative estimate that our present annual consumption of wood in all 
forms amounts to at least 100,000,000,000 board feet. 

The center of the lumbering business has shifted greatly during 
the past fifty years. Until then it was carried on near the banks of 
rivers or streams, and the small sawmill run by water power furnished 



the sole means of manufacture. Gradually the forests adjacent to the 
rivers became exhausted ; but the coming into prominence of a new 
power, steam, soon made it possible to carry on the lumbering indus- 
try in the interior, and before long it became concentrated around 
large plants where all the economies of large-scale production could 
be applied. Until 1850 the largest percentage of lumber produced in 
the United States came from the Northeastern States, prominent among 
which were Maine and New York, but to-day pulp wood is the only 
important product of this region. By 1850 the white pine areas of 
the Great Lakes section had been entered, although their greatest 
exploitation did not take place until the decade 1870 to 1880. The 
Southern States are now the greatest contributors to the lumber out- 
put, yielding annually over one third of the whole. The indications 
are that these fields have about reached the top crest of the wave and 
already the Pacific States are coming into prominence. Thus it is 
seen that practically all of the virgin forests, excepting those in the 
Rocky Mountain section, have been or are being exploited, although, 
as yet, not to the point of exhaustion. The shifting character of the 
lumbering business is well brought out by the following table, com- 
piled by the federal Forest Service, which shows in ten-year periods 
the percentage of the total cut furnished by the principal fields. 


Northeastern States 

Great Lakes States 

Southern States 

Pacific States 



















1 1.9 

















Thus it appears that the Northeastern States, which a little over 
half a century ago produced more than one half of all the lumber, 
now contribute less than one tenth of the whole, and the decrease has 
been steady. All but one of the remaining fields, on the other hand, 
have increased their relative outputs fairly steadily, although their com- 
bined cut is not 25 per cent greater relatively than was the cut in the 
northeastern field alone at the middle of the last century. 

The shifting of the lumbering business from one part of the coun- 
try to another has resulted in a marked change in the nature of the 
output. White pine used to make up one half of the total products, 
but now it is only about one tenth. The following seven species 


furnish over four fifths of the whole cut : yellow pine, Douglas fir, 
white pine, hemlock, oak, spruce, and western pine. The states which 
are the largest individual producers are Washington, Louisiana, Mis- 
sissippi, and Oregon. 

231. Danger of a timber famine. The danger of a timber famine 
in the near future is being seriously felt, and this is due largely to 
the wastefulness of the past and present generations. This is why so 
much interest is being taken at the present time in forestry and in 
the conservation of our forest resources. There is no way of deter- 
mining the actual amount of stumpage that still remains, but the best 
authorities estimate it at from 1400 to 2000 billion board feet. 
With an annual consumption of 100 billion feet (§ 230), — and dis- 
regarding the growth in the meantime, which is not over one 
third of the yearly cut, — the supply would become exhausted in from 
14 to 20 years. Taking this into account, and on the assumption that 
the same forest policy will be pursued in the future as in the past, 
the day when our forests will be exhausted is put off for no more 
than a few years. It is safe to say that such will not be the case, 
for the United States Forest Service is carrying on a successful edu- 
cational campaign to secure greater care in handling the timber lands. 
Furthermore, as a safeguard for future generations against forest ex- 
haustion, the federal government has deemed it wise to go into the 
lumber business. It has acquired vast stretches of timber lands known 
as "national forests." These are administered by the Forest Service, 
and it is about them as a center that the excellent work of this branch 
of the government is being carried on. National forests now embrace 
about 187,000,000 acres, of which all but a few million are in the 
United States proper, the rest being in Alaska and Puerto Rico. As 
yet they are contributing very little to the timber output, for two 
thirds of their stumpage is in the Pacific States region where the 
private-owned timber lands are meeting the market demands. 

It should not be overlooked that the presence or absence of forests 
has an important bearing upon the whole question of inland naviga- 
tion. If the area drained by a river and its tributaries is denuded of 
forests, the water flow will be uneven (cf. § 83). The streams will be 
raging torrents during the rainy periods and dry, or nearly so, the 
rest of the time. Moreover, erosion will be at a maximum (§ 80). 
To maintain a navigable channel in such cases, great expense has to 
be incurred in taking out the detritus and in providing water of suf- 
ficient depth in the dry seasons. The maximum equality of flow is 
desired in any good water-ways policy. A dense growth of vegetation 


over the drainage area is the best means of securing an even flow, 
and to this end the forest is the best agent. The leaves tend to 
regulate the speed with which the water reaches the ground, and 
the humus of the soil has a great absorbing capacity. A large per- 
centage of the rain thus is stored in the ground and finds its way 
gradually to the sea. Thus it can readily be seen that the depletion 
of our forest areas would greatly increase the problem of developing 
our inland-water navigation (§§ 308, 309, 310). 


232. Tobacco. Tobacco is prepared by curing the leaves of certain 
species of the Nicoti?ia. The one most usually cultivated, and from 
which most of the world's annual crop of tobacco is obtained, is A T . taba- 
aun, an annual plant which grows to the height of from 4 to 6 feet, 
and produces several clusters of beautiful pink flowers. This plant 
was native to the New World ; its original home was Ecuador and 
neighboring countries, possibly extending as far north as Mexico. 
When America was discovered the use of tobacco in some form was 
common from Canada to Patagonia. In several parts of South America 
the usual method of consumption was by chewing and snuff taking ; 
while in North America smoking was universal, and the indications 
are that the practice was very ancient. Numerous pipes of almost 
unsurpassed workmanship have been unearthed from various North 
American tombs and mounds, or have been found in the possession 
of existing peoples. The use of tobacco, especially for smoking, was 
intimately bound up with the most solemn rites and ceremonies of 
the aborigines ; it was also commonly used in their social and com- 
mercial relations. 

Another species, A T . mstica, quite unlike tabacum, was commonly 
cultivated by the native tribes in Mexico and farther north. Its native 
habitat seems to have been in Mexico or Texas, possibly in California. 
The plant bears pale yellow or green flowers, and the tobacco made 
from it is coarse. Introduced into the Old W 7 orld, this species is now 
the source of the Hungarian tobaccos and much of the East Indian 
leaf. The finest tobacco in the world, according to some experts, is 
the mild Persian variety called Shiraz. It is obtained from another 
species, N. per sic a. The latter is regarded by many as a variety of 
N. tabacum. At any rate, it is not an Asiatic species but probably 
was introduced into Persia through the seeds of a South American 
plant. Of the numerous species of Nicotina the three here described 
include practically all of the sources of commercial tobaccos. 


The plant was introduced into Europe from America in 1558 by a 
physician named Francisco Fernandez, who had been sent by Philip 
II of Spain to examine the flora of Mexico. For some time after- 
wards it was used chiefly as a medicinal herb ; the English seem to 
have been the first Europeans to take up the practice of smoking. 
This was towards the close of the sixteenth century, and during the 
next hundred years the habit spread widely among all nations 

(cfj i54). 

The world's annual production of tobacco is about 2,800,000,000 
pounds, nearly all countries contributing to a greater or less extent. 
The United States grows more tobacco than any other country and, 
with its possessions, produces about one third of the total crop. 

As already mentioned, tobacco had long been grown by the natives 
of America. When the earlier European settlers arrived they soon 
took up its cultivation, especially in Virginia and Maryland. The 
commodity was so closely wrapped up with the life economy of the 
colonists that, in some cases, it was used as money, being legal tender 
for all debts including customs dues and the salaries of officials and 
ministers of the gospel. As early as 16 19, 20,000 pounds were 
shipped to England from Virginia in a single year. An export tax 
on tobacco was imposed by the mother country, and in 1676 it 
totaled .£120,000. By 1691 the yield of Virginia and Maryland 
alone was 36,000,000 pounds. From this time on its culture spread 
rapidly and its relative importance as a commercial crop steadily in- 
creased ; in 1 790 tobacco stood second only to flour in the list of 
exports, constituting nearly 22 per cent of their total value. 

Though tobacco was early grown in Pennsylvania and New England, 
the first real extension of the industry was westward in Kentucky 
and Tennessee. In the northern portion of the former state and in 
southern Ohio more or less tobacco was grown as early as 1785, 
although it was not until about 18 10 that the industry came into 
prominence in central and southern Kentucky and Tennessee. 
Foreign shipments were made, for the most part, and nearly up to the 
middle of the century, by boat through New Orleans. Up to i860 
Virginia continued to be the leading state in production, but the Civil 
War dealt a serious blow to her agriculture, and the tobacco crop was 
among those most affected. Tobacco is now being grown in twenty- 
five or more states of the Union. Kentucky easily leads, producing 
over one third of the entire crop of the United States. 1 

1 Table VIII in the Appendix shows the acreage, production, and farm value of 
this crop in some of the principal tobacco-producing states. 


The principal varieties of tobacco grown in this country are the 
cigar types for the domestic trade ; the manufacturing types for domes- 
tic use in smoking and chewing ; the bright yellow for cigarettes, pipe 
tobacco, and plug wrappers ; white burley for smoking and chew- 
ing, in both the domestic and export trade, and the export types, 
entirely unsuited to our tastes. The most important purchasers of 
our tobacco in the order of quantity consumed are Great Britain, 
Germany, Italy, Canada, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Great 
Britain takes only our best leaf, for which she is required to pay a 
high price. The leaf must be large, olive green, and so cured that 
the odor of hard wood is still present. In a similar way each of the 
other countries to which our tobaccos are sent have certain peculiar 
demands as to color, flavor, etc., which must be catered to. Conse- 
quently, the value of our tobacco crop is, to a large degree, depend- 
ent upon the ability of the growers to produce types conforming 
closely to the market requirements for each grade. Here we find a 
striking example of the " human" element as a factor in production 
and trade. 

In this connection it should be noted that no other general farm 
crop is grown under a more intensive system of cultivation than is 
tobacco ; the industry also has become highly specialized, and an 
effort is made to produce a tobacco whose qualities conform to a 
certain specific use. The tobacco plant is highly sensitive, and the 
environment of soil and climate has a marked influence upon the 
flavor and quality of the leaf ; thus in such a famous tobacco region 
as Cuba, leaf of good quality cannot be grown close to the ocean even 
though the soil is all that could be desired. The same is true in 
Sumatra, although the climatic conditions, in their variation from the 
ideal types of a favorable environment, are too delicate to be detected 
by meteorological instruments. 1 On the other hand, a type of soil 
which yields a heavy tobacco is entirely unsuited to the production of 
a fine variety. A clayey soil, which retains much moisture, tends to 
produce large plants, the leaves of which when cured are dark brown 
or red. But a light sandy soil gives a thin delicate leaf, curable to a 
bright red mahogany or fine yellow color. In a word, so marked is 
the influence of soil upon the quality of the tobacco that soils of 
different types, though only a few feet apart, produce entirely different 
grades of tobacco. Much care must also be exercised in selecting the 
seed for any particular crop. 

1 Whitney, " Tobacco Soils," Farmers' Bulletin No. 83, 1898, p. 8, United States 
Department of Agriculture. 


The federal government, through the Bureau of Plant Industry 
in the Department of Agriculture, is doing a valuable service to the 
country in its tobacco investigations. 1 These are centered around such 
problems as the improvement of the quality and yield of old types ; 
the production of new ones, by the processes of seed selection and 
breeding, better adapted to the soil and climatic conditions of the 
leading tobacco areas ; and the economizing of fertilizers. The ex- 
periments made are promising, and recently several new varieties 
have been produced and grown with good results. To the end of 
saving considerable cost in fertilizing the crops, a winter legume, 
called hairy vetch, is sown for a cover crop. This not only adds to 
the nitrogen content of the soil, but it enables the plant to withstand 
drought, excessive rainfall, and other unfavorable conditions better 
than where no cover crop is grown. 

233. Fruits and vegetables. No attempt will be made to more 
than outline briefly the circumstances connected with the origin and 
growth of the fruit and vegetable industries of this country, owing to 
lack of authentic data. Most of these plants were not natives but 
were brought in from time to time (cf. §214). In some localities, 
however, the aborigines were bountifully supplied by nature with wild 
grapes, berries, and nuts ; these were used in season and dried for 
winter use. The Spaniards under Menendez are credited with being 
the first white men to plant fruit trees in North America, they hav- 
ing started an orange grove at St. Augustine, Florida, in the middle 
of the sixteenth century. The early Jesuit fathers are said to have 
planted pears in the Great Lakes region at about the same time. 
Apples also were introduced at an early date, but until the middle 
of the nineteenth century they were grown almost exclusivelv for 
cider making. 

It is only within the last fifty or sixty years that fruits and vege- 
tables have been raised for commercial purposes. Until then they 
were produced solely for home consumption and were consumed 
only in season. Gradually some of the larger northern cities having 
steamboat or railway connections with near-by farming districts began 
to be supplied with fresh garden truck. Soon a taste was acquired 
for fruits and vegetables out of season, and the development of the 
country's transportation facilities and improved means of handling 
goods in transit, notably refrigeration, made possible the shipping of 

1 Previous to July i, 1907, the Bureau of Soils carried on investigations of tobacco, 
but on that date all tobacco work in the Department was, in accordance with an 
act of Congress, taken over by the Bureau of Plant Industry. 


perishable commodities over long distances. Large areas in different 
parts of the country were . given over entirely to the production of 
garden crops. This was true particularly of many of the southern 
states and it led to a complete revolution in farming conditions in 
many districts. In such regions the production of the older staple 
crops has been given up and efforts are now concentrated upon sup- 
plying northern markets with fresh fruits and vegetables. This has 
reacted upon the value of land in truck-farming districts. Farms on 
the southern Atlantic seaboard which previously were worth from $2 
to $5 per acre have, since truck farming has been introduced, risen 
in value to from $40 to $500 per acre, the figure depending upon 
their situation with reference to the markets. 

The steamship lines were the pioneers in carrying garden crops 
from southern ports to northern cities. The first regular consignment 
was made in 1847 when a small quantity of lettuce, radishes, mint, 
and strawberries was brought to New York. It was not until the 
spring of 1885 that the first all-rail shipment of garden truck was 
made to New York from the South. The first carload of oranges 
from Florida reached New York in October, 1888, and of straw- 
berries in March of the following year. From these beginnings has 
developed the enormous business of to-day, which gives employment 
to thousands of men and involves the expenditure of millions of 
dollars each year. 1 

The Census of 1900 was the first that made any serious attempt 
to secure definite reports of the value of our fruits. The total annual 
product was appraised at over $1 3 1,000,000. The leading fruit states 
in value of output, and the percentage of the total crop contributed by 
each were as follows : California, 21.5 ; New York, 12.1 ; Pennsyl- 
vania, 7.5 ; Ohio, 6.8 ; Michigan, 4.5 ; total, 52.4. The same census 
showed that 5,750,000 acres of land in the United States were used 
for raising vegetables ; this was 2 per cent of the acreage of all farm 
crops. The potato was the most important vegetable produced ; over 
one half of the total acreage of vegetable crops was given over to 
potatoes, and the value of this crop was over 40 per cent of the 
value of all vegetables raised. 

1 For the development of refrigeration, see § 235. 



234. Introductory. We have seen (§§ 157, 159) that man, in his 
occupation of large parts of the earth's surface, has modified con- 
siderably the distribution and original character of many plants of the 
vegetable world. Certain species have been destroyed or displaced 
by others, the better to satisfy his diversified wants in the struggle 
for existence. Those which he has domesticated make more or less 
specific requirements of soil and climate the conditions of their best 
growth, while the areas over which they can be raised with profit 
are well defined geographically. 

In a similar way the animals are influenced by the physical envi- 
ronment, and have been subjected to striking modifications in their 
nature and general life conditions at the will of man. The climate of 
a given region places a limit to the areas over which a species may 
range. For example, the reindeer could no more be suited to the 
tropical jungle than the tiger to the open arctic regions. Again, the 
topography and vegetation are important considerations in the dis- 
tribution of animal life. The wild horse and antelope are adapted 
to the open plains, wild sheep and goats to inaccessible crags on high 
mountains, while numerous species of animals require the food and 
protection afforded by a forest environment to suit their best needs. 

Among primitive peoples the game in the forest was a constant 
source of food supply, and often this was the only purpose that the 
animals served. The food thus acquired, added to the roots and herbs 
daily gathered, made up the regular bill of fare. Such conditions of 
life set a limit to population and to advancement in the arts. Not 
until man began to domesticate animals and plants and have societies 
of other species than his own about him, could any considerable prog- 
ress be made beyond the savage state. But when this was done his 
resources were greatly increased, capital could be accumulated, and 
the way was opened up, in one important direction, for progress 
towards civilization. 

Owing to the uneven distribution of domesticable animals, the 
opportunity afforded for proceeding along the paths of culture varied 



greatly in different parts of the world. For instance, it is of consider 
able interest to know that the only animal form native to the New 
World that has come into common use over an extensive area is the 
turkey, though it remained for the Europeans to tame it. Soon after 
the discovery of America the turkey was taken to Europe, whence, 
after domestication, it was reintroduced into this country. To be sure, 
the Indians trained the llama and alpaca as beasts of burden, but they 
were of no more than local importance. In the plant world as well 
they were handicapped, owing to the lack of available species upon 
which to work (cf. §§ 159, 214). It may have been that the limita- 
tions thus imposed upon the Indians in the matter of domestication 
account, in part at least, for their never getting much beyond the 
savage stage. The Old World, on the other hand, was the native 
habitat of most of our domestic animals, and the work of taming 
them was done, in a large degree, by the Aryan races. Moreover, it 
is an interesting fact that in Europe and Asia, where the horse, ass, 
camel, elephant, etc., existed in a wild state, i.e. where domestication 
was possible, the human race made the most rapid advances toward 
civilization (§§ 160, 166). The fact that the different species of 
domesticable animals were adapted to different climatic and topo- 
graphic areas has enabled man, in many instances, to reduce the 
natural disadvantages of many regions. 

As men have advanced in the scale of civilization they have learned 
to make new use of animals and their products. Probably their chief 
as well as their original use has always been for food ; and cattle, 
sheep, swine, goats, and poultry form the principal source. Many 
species have been made to draw or carry heavy burdens, notably the 
horse, camel, donkey, elephant, and reindeer. The skins of a great 
variety of animals are used as clothing and for various other purposes 
(§ 155). Under modern slaughtering conditions scarcely any part of 
the animal goes to waste. The bones and horns are converted into 
combs, buttons, and fertilizer ; the hair is used for felt or for mixing 
with lime for plastering ; hogs' bristles go into brushes ; while fats and 
oils, in great variety, swell the long list of secondary products. 

235. Refrigeration. Within comparatively recent times new proc- 
esses of preserving meats and other perishable commodities have been 
discovered, so that the world's trade in them has been greatly in- 
creased. Some such devices have been known from very ancient 
times. For example, the American Indians used to cut meat in strips 
and dry it in the sun, thus carrying over a food supply from time of 
plenty to time of scarcity ; this was called "jerked " meat. In modern 


times the chief method of preservation has been refrigeration, a de- 
vice practiced only since about 1875: The excellent manner in which 
both rail and water transportation companies now handle shipments 
of chilled or frozen meats and other perishable commodities is a 
matter of common knowledge. The first refrigerator cars were made 
by remodeling ordinary freight cars ; double floors, roofs, and sides 
were provided, and the space between was packed with sawdust. 
rhe loaded car was provided with a large ice box, the water from 
the melting ice passing off to the ground through a hole cut in the 
bottom of the car. Under such conditions the first shipment of 
refrigerated dressed beef was made from Chicago to Jersey City in 
the seventies. Whether the preserving method be by refrigeration, 
pickling, canning, smoking, or otherwise, the common aim is to bring 
about unfavorable life conditions for the bacteria of putrefaction. 

236. Domestication and breeding. Man has changed the domestic 
animals considerably by breeding them (cf. §§ 158, 159). Experi- 
mentation of a strictly scientific character in this direction has not 
been carried to as great perfection, perhaps, with the larger and more 
expensive animals as with smaller and quick-breeding species such as 
mice and guinea-pigs ; but great improvements have been brought 
about by selection and by crossing the different breeds to get certain 
desirable qualities. In this way, as has been seen, horses are bred for 
speed or for draft purposes ; cows for milk or flesh ; sheep for length 
and fineness of wool or for size of body, and so on. Again, the adop- 
tion of scientific principles in feeding live stock has resulted in a 
marked improvement in their general character. 

The most advanced nations have made careful studies of the dis- 
eases prevalent among domestic animals with a view to eventually 
stamping them out (cf . § 150); already considerable progress has 
been made, but a great deal more remains to be done. The Bureau 
of Animal Industry in the federal Department of Agriculture in this 
country is doing good work along these lines, and the results obtained 
from the investigations and experiments are published and circulated 
widely among farmers and stock-owners. By an act of Congress of 
June 30, 1906, provision was made for the inspection of the carcasses 
of cattle, sheep, swine, and goats prepared for human consumption 
and designed for interstate or foreign commerce. Those found to be 
diseased or otherwise unfit for human food are destroyed ; the sanita- 
tion of slaughtering establishments is also provided for. A perma- 
nent appropriation of $3,000,000 per year is set aside for the expense 
of administering the law. 


237. Animal foods and pasturage. The best conditions for a large 
output of animal food products are a temperate climate, good and 
sufficient pasturage, and enough capital at the command of the pro- 
ducers to avail themselves of the economies connected with the 
industry. Where the climate is too cold it becomes necessary to 
provide shelter for the animals and to practice winter feeding, both 
of which add considerably to the cost of production. The pasture 
land must be accessible to market. With the improvement of agri- 
culture and the increase in population of a region, lands hitherto 
available for pasturage soon become too expensive for this purpose, 
and the stock raiser is compelled to go farther away for a cattle range 
or to occupy the high-priced lands. If he chooses the latter alterna- 
tive, he must produce a grade of meat so far above the average that 
its increased selling price may offset the extra cost of production due 
to the rise in value of the land. Moreover, the production of good 
meat and of a uniform quality, and the economical delivery of the 
animals to slaughtering centers require a highly organized industrial 
system and financial strength on the part of the producers. 1 

238. Distribution of world's meat animals. The world's great 
market for animal food products is Europe. Three regions surpass 
all others as sources of supply : the United States, Argentina, and 
Australasia. The first supplies chiefly cured pork, lard, and fresh 
beef ; Argentina, fresh beef and mutton ; while Australasia's prin- 
cipal contribution is frozen mutton. Not long ago a study was 
made by the Bureau of Statistics of our federal Department of 
Agriculture regarding the number of the principal meat animals 
in the world by countries. The estimate was as follows : 

Sheep 609,806,860 

Cattle 424,499,238 

Swine 141,327,595 

Goats 91,151,486 

Argentina leads with 19.7 per cent of the world's sheep, and Austra- 
lia comes second with 12.2 per cent. Next in order are European 
Russia (9.7 per cent), United States (8.8 per cent), Asiatic Turkey 
(7.4 per cent), and the United Kingdom (4.8 per cent). Regarding 
cattle, British India takes first place with 20.9 per cent of the whole 
number, closely followed by the United States with 17.5 per cent. The 
only other countries having more than 5 per cent are European 
Russia (8.8), Argentina (7.1), and Brazil (7.1). The United States 

1 Bulletin No. 40, p. 6, Bureau of Statistics, United States Department of 


figures prominently in the number of swine, having 40. 1 per cent of 
the whole. Germany is the second country in order of importance, 
with 13.4 per cent. Austria- Hungary follows with 9 per cent, Euro- 
pean Russia with 8.4 per cent, and France with 5.4 per cent. British 
India is the great goat-raising country, having 31 per cent of all. 
The only other countries raising the animal in considerable numbers 
are Asiatic Turkey, South Africa, Mexico, and Algeria, contributing, 
respectively, 9.9, 7.9, 4.6, and 4.4 per cent of the world's supply. 
The United States occupies a minor place in goat production. 

The value of the cattle, sheep, swine, and goats on farms and ranges 
in the United States in 191 7 was approximately $4,000,000,000. 
This, however, is only a fraction of the value of the farm crops in 
a single year (cf. § 215), though more than twice the value of the 
corn alone. Cattle constitute by far the largest item, their aggregate 
value being about $2,824,000,000 ; the value of the dairy cows is 
only a little less than half of the whole. Swine come second in 
order, the figure being $791,000,000. Sheep and goats are placed 
at $346,000,000 and $7,000,000 1 respectively. 

239. Cattle. History records that the Spaniards introduced neat 
cattle into Mexico about 1525, from the West Indies, where they had 
been brought by Columbus. They multiplied rapidly and soon roamed 
widely over the excellent feeding grounds to the north and east. Then 
the English, Dutch, and other colonists from northern Europe brought 
over their own breeds, from which have descended the greater number 
of the cattle found in the United States. For a long time little atten- 
tion was paid to the purity of the stock, but early in the nineteenth 
century considerable attention was given to breeding. In this country 
cattle are now raised chiefly for beef and dairy products ; their pro- 
duction for draft purposes, hides, and tallow, which are the primary 
motives in some countries, is secondary here. The center of the 
cattle-raising industry has shifted greatly since the middle of the nine- 
teenth century. In 1850 the states which led in number of cattle were, 
with one exception (Ohio), still on the Atlantic seaboard. They were, 
in order, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida, each 
having over 1,000,000 cattle. By 1900, 18 states and territories had 
at least this number, but the greatest producers were much farther 
west ; Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, and Montana, in order, 
were the leaders. New York had fallen to seventh place, Ohio to 
ninth, and Pennsylvania to tenth. Thus it is seen that the greatest de- 
velopment has been in states which formerly were waste lands. The 

1 Figure for 1910. 


production of large herds of cattle requires, as already pointed out, 
extensive grazing areas, which in the older and more densely popu- 
lated regions are now utilized for other purposes. But, for still another 
reason, it was inevitable that the center of the cattle-raising industry 
should shift westward, and the movement has not stopped as yet. 
The best environment for cattle in this country is found in the states 
included in the Great Plains (cf. § 65), for here are found the choicest 
grazing lands in the United States. Moreover, the farmer is restrained 
from competing with the grazer since, owing to the deficient rainfall, 
these lands cannot be utilized for agriculture excepting to a limited 
degree (cf. § 65). 

In maii\' parts of the country cattle are kept essentially for the 
production of milk, butter, and cheese. Since milk is a perishable 
commodity, it is necessary that the herds of cows which supply cities 
and villages with it be comparatively near the market, so that for short 
distances wagons, and for longer distances special trains, can distribute 
the daily supply. The centers of butter and cheese production need 
not be so near the market. At the Census of 1900, 50 per cent of 
the dairy cows were in the North Central States, and 20 per cent in 
the North Atlantic States, i.e. near large centers of population. At 
every census year since 1850, excepting 1890, New York state has 
had the greatest number of milch cows, while, from every point of 
view, it is the leading dairy state. In the North Atlantic States dairy- 
ing is the principal source of income on a large percentage of the 
farms where cows are kept. On the other hand, in spite of the large 
dairy herds in the central West, other branches of farming are the 
main stay of the owners. 

240. Swine. The early colonists introduced swine of an inferior 
grade into this country. By a process of careful breeding, selection, 
and feeding, great improvements from the original stock have resulted. 
Some of the first swine breeders' associations were formed between 
1875 and 1890, showing that it was not until the last quarter of the 
nineteenth century that anything more than local or individual efforts 
to improve the swine were made. 

As already pointed out (§ 238), we lead the world easily in swine 
production. Though they are raised in greater or less numbers in all 
parts of the country, the great swine region of the United States and 
of the world is in the territory included in the states of Iowa, Illinois, 
Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, and Ohio. 1 This group 
of states (excepting Texas) is the identical group in which two thirds 

1 The order here given represents the order of production. 


of our enormous corn crop is raised (cf. § 217). Corn being the chief 
food for swine, it is only natural that the corn belt and the swine- 
producing areas should coincide. Nearly one half of the corn crop is 
fed to the hogs and goes to the market chiefly in the form of ham 
and bacon ; and a large percentage of the rest is consumed by other 
domestic animals, so that the export of corn, as such, is comparatively 
small (cf. § 217). 

241. Sheep and wool. The Spaniards and the English figured most 
prominently in introducing sheep into this country. The former are 
credited with bringing them to Mexico and Florida in the sixteenth 
century, and from these importations large flocks sprang up later, 
especially in Texas, Utah, and New Mexico. It is probable that the 
type of animal introduced by the Spaniards was the churro, or com- 
mon sheep, rather than the merino. The English brought sheep to 
Virginia as early as 1609, and from this time on they were introduced 
rapidly into most of the other colonies, the stock being from those 
types common to England in the seventeenth century. At the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century the sheep found along the Atlantic 
coast, as far south as Georgia and as far west as the English-speaking 
settlers had gone, were descendants of various English breeds and of 
the long-wooled type. In Georgia, the states bordering the Gulf of 
Mexico, and westward to the Pacific Ocean the Spanish sheep pre- 
vailed. What few merinos there were, were confined to the North 
Atlantic States. 

In order that wool of best quality might be available for home 
manufactures, 26,000 Spanish merino sheep were imported in 18 10 
and distributed throughout the country. The fact that this breed can 
do well even upon the coarsest food makes it easily adaptable to an 
environment unfavorable for less hardy breeds. Owing to the indus- 
trial depression in this country in 181 5-1 8 16, following the close of 
the Napoleonic wars, wool could not be marketed and entire flocks 
of merinos were slaughtered. With the revival of manufactures after 
1820 there came a demand for an even finer grade of wool than 
before, so that Saxony merinos were imported during 1 820-1 823. 
But their physical weakness and the general decline in the value of 
wool prevented this breed from gaining a strong foothold in the 
United States. About the middle of the century came the transition 
from fine-wool to coarse-wool and mutton sheep (cf. § 158). For the 
past ten years or more there has been a marked tendency to increase 
the mutton breeds, this 'being especially marked in the states east of 
the Mississippi where, with the growth of population, the demand for 



meat is great. The wool clip is about 300,000,000 pounds annually ; 
practically all of it is consumed at home as well as more than one 
half this weight of imported fiber, which generally is finer than our 
domestic product. Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon are the 
chief wool-producing states. 

The movement of the sheep industry from the east and south to 
the far west is well brought out by the following table, compiled by 
the federal Census Bureau. It shows, by geographical divisions, the 
distribution of sheep by percentages in i860, 1880, 1890, and 1900. 

Geographic Divisions 





North Atlantic States 

1 1.9 



3 2 -4 








North Central States 

South Central States 


1 00.0 



1 00.0 

At the time of the last census the five states and territories hav- 
ing more than 3,000,000 sheep and lambs were all in the western 
division excepting Ohio. 

242. Goats and mohair. The Angora goat, a native of Asia Minor, was intro- 
duced into the United States in 1849 by Dr. James B. Davis, of Columbia, South 
Carolina, who had been sent to Turkey at the request of the Sultan to experiment 
in cotton culture. Upon leaving Turkey, Dr. Davis was presented with nine Angora 
goats, and it is from these and a few others imported from South Africa that have 
descended the two million or more goats found widely scattered throughout the 
country. From these small beginnings it is believed that a large industry may 
eventually develop. 

The Angora goat will flourish in a region where the temperature, whether hot 
or cold, either remains fairly steady throughout the year, or where there are great 
extremes. The amount of moisture in the air is the most important climatic factor 
to consider in dealing with these animals. As their native habitat was high up in 
the mountains where the air contained little moisture, high altitudes are preferable ; 
wet and marshy lands are not at all suitable. This animal has many uses. " The 
fleece, called mohair, furnishes some of the finest of fabrics among ladies' goods 
and is used in various other manufactures ; their habit of browsing enables the 
farmer in a wooded locality to use them to help in subjugating the forests ; their 
flesh is exceedingly delicate and nutritious ; the milk, though not as abundant as 
with the milch breed of goats, is richer than cow's milk; their tanned skins, 
though inferior in quality to the skins of the common goat, are used for leather; 
their pelts make the neatest of rugs and robes ; they are excellent pets for chil- 
dren ; a few of them in a flock of sheep are a protection from wolves and dogs." 1 

1 Thompson, " The Angora Goat," Farmers' Bulletin No. 137, p. 12, United States 
Department of Agriculture. 


243. Horses. Horses were introduced into Florida in 1527 and 
into some of the North Atlantic seaboard states early in the seven- 
teenth century. From these early importations the greater number 
of the common farm and trucking varieties have descended, although 
the stock has been crossed at frequent intervals with some of the best 
breeds of the Old World. Improvements in the means of transpor- 
tation have, at times, stimulated the demand for horses, while in 
other instances (e.g. the development of trolleys) a tendency in the 
opposite direction may be traced. In general, however, the great 
economic development made possible by improvements in the art of 
locomotion has led to the utilization of horses for many purposes 
hitherto unknown. To supply the growing demands of both home 
and foreign markets for our cereals, as well as to insure sufficient 
food for all kinds of domestic animals, an increasing supply of horses 
and mules is required to cultivate the land. Moreover, the exporta- 
tion of horses to foreign countries has increased rapidly during the 
past fifteen years, 3226 being exported in 1892 and over 80,000 
per year by the opening of the twentieth century. The number of 
horses in the United States at the present time is nearly 21,000,- 
000 with an approximate value of $2,175,000,000. The farmers 
and ranchmen of the Western States raise more horses for market 
than those in any other part of the country, and the two most im- 
portant horse markets are Omaha and Kansas City, both of which 
are near the center of the greatest horse-raising area. In some of 
the Southern States mules are more numerous than horses, for the 
latter cannot endure the hot, moist climate and hard usage as well 
as the former. 

244. Poultry and eggs. The various species of poultry found on 
the farms of this country, such as chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, 
are, with the exception of the latter, immigrants from the Old World. 
The common domestic fowl, popularly designated chicken, is the 
most numerous and important species. It was domesticated in very 
early times, is of Asiatic origin, and was introduced into this country 
by the earliest colonists. Except for a few fancy breeds, poultry is 
kept as a food supply. 

Until comparatively recent times the raising of poultry was not a 
distinct industry, but rather a side issue in general farming. Various 
causes have combined to give rise to the new occupation of poultry- 
keeper. Among these, the excellent results that can be obtained bv 
adopting careful breeding and scientific feeding methods, and the 
ever-widening market due to modern methods of preserving and 


transporting the output of the poultry farms are important considera- 
tions. Moreover, quick returns are realized upon the small amount 
of capital invested, and when the business is intelligently and care- 
fully conducted, it is remunerative. The successful poultry raiser 
must learn to cater to the peculiar fancies of different markets. In 
certain cities brown eggs are in demand and command the highest 
price, while in others white eggs are the fashion. Similarly, fowls 
dressed by " dry picking " are at a premium in some localities where 
" scalded " ones will not sell at all, and vice versa. Here is illustrated 
the " human " element as a factor in trade. 

From the nature of the industry, poultry and eggs are likely to be 
raised to a greater or less extent in all sections of the country. Still 
there is a noticeable tendency towards localization which is easily 
explained. Corn is the best cereal for fattening poultry, and to save 
transportation charges the poultry-raising business, like flax culture 
and swine raising, is settling down in the corn belt. One half of the 
poultry produced in the United States is raised in the North Central 
States ; also 50 per cent of the eggs come from the same region. The 
value of the poultry raised per year is about $140,000,000 and of 
eggs $150,000,000. The former is consumed largely in the home 
market, while our foreign shipments of eggs vary from less than 
S 2,000,000 to over $4,000,000 per annum. 


245. Introductory. It is clear that the influence of environment 
is a matter of comparatively slight significance in the fisheries of a 
country ; for, excepting the fisheries of rivers and lakes, they vary in 
importance with the proximity of the fishing grounds and are not 
referable directly to the country itself. Still the nature of the coast 
line and of the region directly back of it have an important bearing 
upon the subject ; for if the coast is broken and dotted with good 
harbors and the back country comparatively barren, the inhabitants, 
of necessity, are forced to the sea either to fish or to engage directly 
in commerce (cf. Norway and Nova Scotia). Religious persuasions 
have had an important bearing upon the trade in fish, in that certain 
varieties of fish are, regularly or periodically, in great demand in the 
West Indies and in the Catholic countries of Europe. Again, it should 
not be overlooked that the fisheries of a nation have a more or less 
intimate bearing upon its merchant and naval marines. 

Under the head of Fisheries are included not only the fish used as 
food but the commercial products derived from all marine animals. 


The fish which are staple articles of diet as well as those considered 
as luxuries are comparatively well known. The number of purposes, 
other than for food, for which water fauna are utilized is often under- 
estimated. 1 Such products may be classified conveniently as follows : 
oils, fats, and waxes ; fertilizers ; furs and leather ; shells, bones, 
and ivory ; and miscellaneous articles such as glue, isinglass, and 
sponges. It is estimated that the value of the world's annual produc- 
tion of such commodities is $45,000,000, of which the United States 
contributes one fourth. The oils are less in demand than formerly, 
owing to the competition of mineral oils (cf. § 264). Time was, how- 
ever, when whale oil was of great commercial importance, and from 
1820 to i860 whale fishing was one of the principal American indus- 
tries, and 70,000 persons looked to it for a livelihood. At the present 
day the seal fisheries of the northern seas are made lucrative by the 
oil obtained from the blubber underneath the skins of the animals, as 
well as by the furs. Moreover, great quantities of oil useful for medic- 
inal and other purposes are derived from the cod. Spermaceti, a wax- 
like substance, is obtained in refining sperm oil and is used in making 
candles and ointments. The sperm whale also yields from its intes- 
tines a substance called ambergris, which is now used chiefly in pre- 
paring perfumery. Shells, seaweed, and non-edible fish, notably the 
menhaden, are employed as fertilizers. One half of the world's fur 
and fully three fourths of all the fur produced in the United States 
come from such sea animals as the seal, mink, and otter. Leather is 
manufactured from the skins of most aquatic mammals, and also from 
other marine species. Among the hard substances derived from fish, 
shells are the most important, having an annual value of upwards of 
$7,000,000, and pearls have nearly an equal value. Whalebone is 
obtained in smaller quantities than formerly, the United States con- 
tributing about five sixths of the annual output. As the available 
supply has diminished, it has increased greatly in price. Sponges to 
the value of $5,000,000 are marketed each year, the areas off the 
coast of Florida producing one tenth of the supply. Thousands of 
dollars' worth of glue, derived from the parts of fish formed)- con- 
sidered as useless, are used on postage stamps and labels, for court- 
plaster, and so on. 

The two most important areas from which the fish utilized for food 
are obtained are the waters of western Europe, with the North Sea as 
a center, and the western Atlantic around the coasts of Newfoundland, 

1 See article by C. H. Stevenson on "Aquatic Products in Arts and Industries"' 
in Report of United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, /Q02. pp. 179-279. 


Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and 
the New England and Middle Atlantic states. Yet there are many 
other lake, river, and sea fishing grounds, especially in the temperate 
and arctic regions, so that fishing is carried on more or less exten- 
sively by many countries. By international agreement each nation 
reserves for its own fishermen exclusive privileges within three miles 
of its coasts ; beyond that limit the field is open to all comers. 

The fishing industry of the United States surpasses that of every 
other country in the world. The United Kingdom and Russia stand 
high in the list, while Japan, France, Canada, and Norway are next 
in order. There are abundant resources in our lakes, rivers, coast 
waters, and along the shores. Moreover, the Grand Banks of New- 
foundland and St. George's shoals, two of the most famous cod-fish- 
ing regions, are easily accessible. Our commercial fisheries, excluding 
the island possessions, yield an annual income of nearly $60,000,000, 
distributed, territorially, as shown in the Appendix. 1 

246. North Atlantic States. From the above-mentioned table it is 
seen that this group of states leads in the value of commercial fish 
products. New Jersey and New York, in order, are the greatest con- 
tributors. The former is very favorably situated for carrying on an 
extensive fishing industry, there being good transportation facilities for 
marketing the products in New York, Philadelphia, Jersey City, and 
numerous other large cities. The state fronts on New York and 
Delaware bays and on the Hudson and Delaware rivers, so that both 
fresh and salt-water fishing can be carried on throughout the year. 
In addition to the cod and other offshore fish that are caught, large 
numbers of shad, bluefish, and oysters are taken. Oysters represent 
50 per cent of the value of the fisheries of New York state, but blue- 
fish, menhaden, clams, and scallops are of considerable importance. 
For the whole group of states the fishery yielding the largest income 
is the oyster ; in fact, we produce nearly 90 per cent of the world's 
supply. Shad, menhaden, clams, and bluefish are the other largest 

247. New England States. Massachusetts surpasses all the other 
states of this group both in the quantity and in the value of the fish- 
ing products. In the latter respect Connecticut stands second and 
Maine third. The most important species taken are cod, haddock, 
hake, pollock, halibut, mackerel, herring, and oysters. The latter 
have an annual value of nearly $4,000,000, and the output of Con- 
necticut makes up three fourths of this amount. Gloucester is the 

1 Table IX. 


greatest fishing port in the Union, having upwards of 6000 people 
engaged in the work. Over 1 70,000,000 pounds of fish were landed 
at the two ports, Gloucester and Boston, in 1906, with a value of 
$4,070,000 ; three fourths of the catch was made directly off the New 
England coast. In these two cities are located numerous wholesale 
houses engaged in the sea-food industry. The Maine coast, with its 
many indentations and islands, is well adapted to the life of the fish- 
erman; and its rocky shores favor the breeding of lobsters, which 
represent the most important fishery in the state. 

248. Alaska. There are numerous varieties of fish in the Alaskan 
waters, but, although considerable attention is being given to the 
development of other fishery resources, salmon, cod, and halibut are 
the principal species caught. The salmon industry of the waters of 
south and southeastern Alaska, notably the Yukon River, became im- 
portant about 1885, and it has grown to such proportions that a large 
percentage of the salmon product of the United States now comes 
from this region. As early as 1878 attempts at canning salmon were 
begun by the establishment, near Sitka, of a factory owned by a San 
Francisco firm. Soon others were started, and by 1907 there were 
48 plants in operation. Other methods of preserving the fish, such 
as pickling, dry salting, smoking, and freezing, are practiced exten- 
sively. Cod fishing is carried on under the direction of firms and in- 
dividuals having headquarters in San Francisco, Seattle, Anacortes, 
and Tacoma, where the catch is sent and prepared for market. A 
large proportion of the output goes to the West Indies, but the price 
obtained is less than that for the Atlantic cod, owing to the fish not 
being cured dry enough to stand the southern climate ; efforts are 
being made, however, to do away with this defect. Halibut are ob- 
tained chiefly in the numerous bays, sounds, and straits of southeastern 
Alaska. In the summer the fish scatter considerably, but during the 
winter they collect in schools on the banks, at which time the greater 
part of the year's catch is made. 

The Pribilof Islands, in Bering Sea, remain the breeding ground 
of the largest fur-seal herd in the world. Since Alaska was purchased, 
in 1867, the United States government has received a revenue of 
over $9,000,000 for the lease of the privilege of taking seals in these 
waters — a sum greater than was paid for all Alaska. The recent 
lessee was the North American Commercial Company, whose con- 
tract expired in 19 10. The leasing system has since been abolished. 
Provision has also been made for preserving ' the fur-seal herd by 
preventing pelagic sealing and by other means. 



249. Pacific Coast States. The waters of the Pacific coast abound 
in numerous varieties of fish such as are found, in general, at the same 
latitude on the Atlantic, namely, cod, herring, halibut, etc. Salmon 
in great varieties are obtained from the rivers, and the canned product 
finds a ready market in England as well as in all parts of the United 
States. Salted cod supplies the home market, and many carloads are 
sent to Chicago and cities farther east. Refrigerator cars carry large 
shipments of fresh sea food to interior points in Colorado, Nevada, 
New Mexico, and Arizona. Shad, striped bass, German carp, and 
catfish have been introduced into the Pacific waters in recent years ; 
the fisheries of Washington contribute the greatest amount towards 
the value of the total yearly output of these waters. 

250. Gulf States. The value of Florida's fisheries exceeds that of 
all the other Gulf States, representing more than one third of the total 
figure. 1 Louisiana and Mississippi come next in order. Four items 
make up nearly two thirds of the value of the annual output, namely, the 
oyster, mullet, sponge, and shrimp. The oyster fishery is carried on ex- 
tensively in all the states, and the yield is worth over $1,250,000 a year. 

251. South Atlantic States. North Carolina leads in this group 
of states in the extent of the fisheries. In 1902 the value of the out- 
put in this state alone was $1,739,661 as compared with a total of 
S2, 849, 663 for the whole group. The six varieties having an annual 
value of more than $100,000 were, in order, the oyster, mullet, shad, 
trout, striped bass, and clam. 

252. Great Lakes. Ten years ago the fisheries of Lake Erie were 
more valuable than those of any of the other lakes ; at the present 
time, however, Lake Michigan leads with nearly one half the value 
of the total output. Lake Ontario's product is comparatively unim- 
portant. In 1880 the whitefish was more abundant in the Great 
Lakes than any other species, but now herring has taken first place, 
although the supply seems to be diminishing. Trout is the next item 
in value, followed by yellow perch, whitefish, and blue pike. 

253. Mississippi River and tributaries. The fisheries of this sec 
tion are carried on in seventeen states, and Illinois leads with about 
one third of the value of the total product. The most valuable species 
taken are catfish, German carp, black bass, and fresh-water drum, 
although numerous others are important. Great quantities of pearl 
buttons are manufactured from the shells of mussels taken from the 
Mississippi River. 

1 This refers only to the western coast of Florida. The east-coast fisheries are 
included in the fisheries of the South Atlantic States. 



The office of Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries was created by Congress 
in 1 87 1, but its independence as a separate branch of the government ceased in 
1903, when it was made a bureau in the Department of Commerce and Labor. In 
a word, the purpose of the bureau is to increase the quantity and better the quality 
of the fish supply of the United States ; and, to these ends, studies are made of 
different species ; the coast waters, lakes, and rivers are stocked with young fish ; 
and a general oversight is exercised of the whole fishing industry. 



254. Introductory. This group of commodities presents a striking 
contrast in several important particulars to those of the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms. As has been pointed out (§§ 214, 234), many 
species of animals and plants have been carried from their native 
habitats and grown, often with wide variations from the original 
stock, under a new but somewhat different environment. A mo- 
ment's reflection will show how entirely different it is with the min- 
erals. These were laid down in certain definite places over the face 
of the globe once for all time. Consequently, there are no mineral 
emigrants such as we found among animals and plants. Man is well 
aware of this fact, but he gives little if any thought to the limitations 
thus imposed upon him by nature. He is so used to "triumphing 
over nature" through subtle brain activities that he is prone to for- 
get that all his work in exploiting mineral resources must be confined 
to the areas of natural location (§§ 141, 161). Again, the supply of 
minerals is not inexhaustible, whereas the quantity of cereals, etc., to 
be produced yearly for all time to come is, within certain limits, sub- 
ject to the control of man. For obvious reasons, therefore, it can be 
seen that those environmental factors of soil and climate which play 
so large a part in the life conditions of vegetable products do not 
have to be reckoned with in our discussion of minerals. Certain 
controlling conditions, such as nearness to centers of population and 
transportation facilities available, determine whether or not certain 
mineral deposits may be worked profitably. 

Many of the great mining ventures owe their origin to the fact 
that mineral deposits are often exposed on the sides of hills or moun- 
tains or in river valleys. These exposures are usually on the wind- 
ward side of ranges near the sea ; thus copper was discovered on the 
west side of the Andes, in Chile, and coal on the western slopes of 
the Pennine range. Again, a sudden change of level in the interior 
may lay bare mineral wealth. Copper and nickel were found in this 
way in the Sudbury region in Ontario ; also coal and iron between 
Moscow and Tula. 1 

1 See Lyde, Commercial Geography of the British Empire, p. 30. 



According to the present known sources of the commercial min- 
erals, their distribution among the continents as well as within them 
is strikingly uneven. Of course this varies according to the mineral 
under consideration. Iron occurs commonly as compared with anti- 
mony and tin ; platinum and tin are extremely localized. In such 
undeveloped regions as large parts of Canada, Africa, South America, 
and Siberia numerous mineral deposits are likely to be found as these 
sections become better known. When the Canadian Pacific Railway 
was being constructed valuable mineral deposits were found, notably 
the nickel at Sudbury. 

A convenient classification of minerals is that which divides them 
into two groups, — metallic and non-metallic. To the former belong 
iron, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, aluminum, quicksilver, antimony, 
platinum, tin, and nickel. In the United States there are more than 
fifty non-metallic minerals, of which coal and petroleum form the 
largest items in the value of output. The total value of the annual 
mineral production of the United States is approximately $2,000,- 
000,000. In 1905 it passed the $1,500,000,000 mark for the first 
time in our history. The increase since 1902 has been close on to 
50 per cent. The non-metallic minerals have the greatest value ; but 
the figure for the total product, large as it seems, is only between 
one third and one fifth as great as that for our farm crops (cf. 
§ 215). The yearly corn crop alone is worth more than the total 
annual value of all the non-metallic minerals. 


255. Iron. The value of our pig-iron output is over $400,000,000 
annually, which is less than that of the wheat crop. Amongst all 
our minerals coal alone, including bituminous and anthracite, sur- 
passes it in value. This country is taking such rapid strides in the 
production of iron that, in yearly output, it promises soon to lead the 
rest of the countries combined. The world's annual production of 
pig iron is about 63,000,000 tons. Of this the United States furnishes 
nearly 40 per cent, while the three leading producers — the United 
States, Germany, and the United Kingdom — contribute over 75 per 
cent of the whole. 1 As regards steel, the world's output is, approxi- 
mately, 60,000,000 tons. The United States contributes nearly 40 
per cent, while the three leading producers, the same as for pig iron, 
have a combined product of over 75 per cent of the whole. The 

1 See figures in the Appendix, Table X. 



development of the iron industry in this country is well brought out 
by the accompanying chart (fig. 25) taken from " Mineral Resources 
of the United States," 1906, which shows, graphically, the produc- 
tion of iron ore, pig iron, and steel from 1870 to 1906. 


1870 1875 1880 1885 1890 1895 1900 19052 




~ 30,000,000 


•J 25,000,000 




3 20,000.000 






Iron ore 






,• Pig ire 


I , 


/ / 

/ Steel 





K f 



Fig. 25. Production of Iron Ore, Pig Iron, and Steel in the United States, 1870-1906 

Iron ore is widely distributed in the United States, occurring in 
almost every one of the political divisions, although it is mined for 
blast-furnace use in less than thirty different states (191 2). These may 
be grouped conveniently into four districts r 1 

1 See Mineral Resources of the United States, 1906, p. 80. This volume of the 
United States Geological Survey and The Mining Industry during 1906, edited by 
W. R. Ingalls, have been drawn upon freely in preparing the chapter on Mineral 


1. The Lake Superior district, including Michigan, Minnesota, 
and Wisconsin. 

2. The Southern district, including Alabama, Georgia, North 
Carolina, Tennessee, the Virginias, Maryland, Kentucky, Arkansas, 
Missouri, and Texas. 

3. The Northern district, including western New England, New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa. 

4. The Western district, including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, 
Arizona, and New Mexico. 

The relative output of each of these fields, in order, is 84, 10, 4, 
and 2 per cent of the whole. Thus it appears that the first field 
contributes four fifths and the second about one seventh of the total, 
while the output from the last two is comparatively insignificant. The 
I^ake Superior field is at present the most important producer in the 

Iron is extracted from the ores by smelting, and for this purpose 
some fuel, generally coal or coke, and limestone are required. Great 
changes have taken place in the method of smelting. Until 1 840 the 
fuel in common use was charcoal ; from 1840 to 1850 many experi- 
ments were being made with coal, both bituminous and anthracite ; 
by 1850 the anthracite era in iron making started on this continent ; 
ten years later bituminous coal and coke were becoming important 
factors in the smelting process, although it was not until 1875 that 
the production of pig iron by these fuels surpassed the output from 

Where coal and iron deposits occur near each other there is, other 
things being equal, a great opportunity to produce iron and steel at 
a minimum cost (cf. § 331). The Birmingham, Alabama, district is 
particularly favored in this respect, for there these materials as well 
as limestone are in juxtaposition. As yet, however, the southern 
iron fields have been little developed, owing largely to the scanty 
supply and poor quality of the labor. Moreover, it has been asserted 
that the profits of iron production in the South go chiefly to the rail- 
way companies in carrying pig iron to the northern market. 

256. Copper. Copper is a widely distributed metal, occurring in 
greater or less quantities in most of the countries of the world. It is 
tound in the pure state, but more frequently in the form of ores. It 
is very tenacious, ductile, and easily worked, and has been used in 
the arts from early times. Owing to its being an excellent conductor 
of heat and electricity, its consumption, during the last half century's 
wonderful material progress, has increased enormously. Efforts to 


find a substitute for copper in electrical works have met with little 
success (cf. § 261). The electrification of suburban divisions of certain 
steam railways will add another demand. Two important alloys, 
bronze and brass, are formed, respectively, of copper and tin and 
copper and zinc (cf. § 260). 

The world's annual output of raw copper was less than 9000 tons 
in 1 80 1. To-day it is over 1,000,000 tons. In 1867 Chile's produc- 
tion was two thirds of the whole, and down to 1883 she stood first 
on the list. We have now taken this place, contributing about 56 per 
cent of the total yearly output. The countries next in order are 
Mexico, Japan, Spain, and Australasia. In the value of metallic 
mineral products our copper yield generally stands next to iron, the 
present figure being about $200,000,000. Those of our states which 
have the largest output are Montana, Arizona, and Michigan, produc- 
ing 72 per cent of the whole. Nearly all of Montana's copper comes 
from the Butte district, which is the greatest copper camp in the 
world. The Michigan field is the one great native copper district ; it 
follows without a break the axis of the Keweenaw peninsula for about 
70 miles, with a width of from 3 to 6 miles. In Arizona, as con- 
trasted with Montana and Michigan, the copper comes from many 
different sections of the territory. 

257. Gold. Gold is a widely distributed metal, being found in all 
the continents and in most of the countries of each. It occurs com- 
monly in volcanic districts, but is not associated with any particular 
geological period ; it is found pure or native, imbedded in rocks in 
quartz veins, in nuggets, or in placer deposits. The use of gold as a 
standard of value and as a medium of exchange is due, in large part, 
to its high value as compared with its bulk. For this reason and from 
the facts that it does not tarnish and is pleasing to the eye, and that 
it is the fashion to wear articles made in whole or in part from gold, 
it is employed extensively in the arts. To lessen the abrasion it is 
alloyed with silver and copper, which process increases its hardness. 

A graphic representation of the development of the world's gold 
production since the discovery of America is shown by the accom- 
panying diagram (fig. 26) taken from Bartholomew's " Atlas of the 
World's Commerce," Part 6. 

Observe the comparatively small output until the mines of Califor- 
nia and Australia were discovered in the middle of the nineteenth 
century. The increase during the last decade has been great. Im- 
proved methods of extraction, the discovery of new deposits, the de- 
velopment, especially since the Anglo-Boer War, of South African 



|l 493-1 620 
|l 621 -1544 
|l 646-1 560 
i 1561-1580 
i 1581-1600 
5 1 601 1 620 
1 1621 -1640 
|]l 661 -1680 
||l 681 -1 700 
||l 701 -1 720 
|||l 721 -1740 
^P1 741 -1760 
|||il 761 -1780 
||]l 781 -1 800 
|||l 801 -1 81 
Pj 81 1-1 820 
H}l 821 -1830 
j - , 831-1840 

jl 641 -185 










1 1896 






| ; 11855 



; }1857 

























!1 8 







74 : 
76 • 






11 8 











31 j 




h s 






1884 i 


)5 i 
56 i 

7 j 
88 i 

1 890 


_J 18{ 











1 1893 





'1189 7 





jl 9 





: 1 J - ■ 




Fig. 26. Development of the World's Gold Production since 1493 


fields, and the constant demand for the precious metal account, in 
part at least, for the phenomenon. 

For a long time the United States held first place in gold pro- 
duction, but in 1898 South Africa took the lead. Owing to the war 
in the Transvaal, Africa's gold production dropped to $8,600,000 
in 1900. At the conclusion of the war it began to increase, and in 
1905 Africa again outstripped all other gold-producing countries. 
The world's output, at present, is somewhat more than 22,000,000 
fine ounces, valued at $465,000,000. This is considerably less, 
however, than the farm value of our average wheat crop (cf. § 215). 
The United States holds second place ; Australia, third. These 
three countries contribute about three fourths of the whole output. 
Those next in order are Mexico, Russia, and British India. 1 

258. Lead. Lead is a heavy, soft metal seldom found in a pure 
state, but commonly as galena (sulphide of lead), or as a carbonate 
called cerussite. The former bears more or less silver, and lead is 
often turned out as a by-product in silver production. It has become 
more and more necessary with the advance of material development, 
for it is used for pipes, cisterns, roofing, and shot. Also many alloys, 
such as type metal, solder, and pewter, contain lead, and it forms a part 
of numerous chemical compounds used extensively in the arts. The 
world's output is considerably more than 1,000,000 tons annually. 2 
The United States leads the world with about one third of the total. 
Twenty-two states, including Alaska, produce lead, although in all but 
four of them the output is small. Missouri has first place, contributing 
nearly 40 per cent, and Idaho yields about 30 per cent, while Utah 
and Colorado occupy third and fourth places respectively. 

259. Silver. Silver is found native at times, but more commonly 
it occurs in ores combined with other metals, such as copper, lead, 
and zinc. 

The commercial value of our product is over 340,000,000 annually. 
Twenty-two states and territories, including Alaska, contribute to the 
output ; the chief are Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Idaho. 
The commercial value of the world's output is over $127,000,000. 
Sixty per cent or more comes from the North American continent. 
Our production in 1906 exceeded that of Mexico for the first 
time in several years. There has been an enormous development in 
silver mining during the last half century. Till i860 the total yearly 

1 P^or figures of gold production by countries and by states in the United States, 
see the Appendix, Tables XI and XII. 

- See figures in the Appendix, Table XIII. 



output had never reached 900 tons, but about that time (1859) the 
great Comstock lode in Nevada was discovered and at once the 
United States came to the front as a silver producer. To-day 
the world's output is over 9000 tons annually. 

A large percentage of the supply of silver is minted. On account 
of its softness it is alloyed with copper when coined ; in this country 
the proportion is 9 parts of silver to 1 of copper. Its other more 
common uses are for the manufacture of silverware and jewelry and 
in photography. 

260. Zinc. Zinc is a hard metal occurring with others such as 
lead and copper ; the crude metallic commodity is called spelter. Its 
uses are varied ; when alloyed with copper it forms brass, and with 
copper and tin, a variety of bronze. A common use is in coating 
thin sheets of iron (galvanizing) to protect the latter from oxidation. 
Zinc white, a powder used in paints, is obtained by subjecting the 
zinc to intense heat until an oxide is formed. 

The world's annual production of spelter is, roughly, about 990,000 
short tons ; the figure varies considerably from year to year. A great 
demand naturally results in a rapid increase in price, which, in turn, 
encourages production. Germany and the United States each have 
an output of about 280,000 tons, while Belgium, the only other large 
producer, adds considerably less. These three countries contribute 
about six sevenths of the whole output. 

The value of our annual yield is about $45,000,000. Over twenty 
states mine zinc-bearing ores, but Missouri alone is the source of two 
fifths of the spelter derived from domestic ores. Excepting a small 
quantity from the southeastern part of the state, the whole supply 
comes from the region known as the Missouri-Kansas, the Joplin, or 
the southwestern Missouri district. It runs over into southeastern 
Kansas, also into northeastern Oklahoma. 

261. Aluminum. Aluminum is widely distributed and, in combi- 
nation with other elements, forms about one thirteenth of the earth's 
crust. Comparatively speaking, it is one of the new metals, for it 
did not come into prominence until twenty-five years ago. This was 
because of the expensive processes used in extracting it from its 
compounds ; cheaper methods have been discovered, however, and 
now, by the electrical process, the cost of producing the metal has 
been reduced so that it is coming into common use. It has a whitish 
color, is light, being about one quarter as heavy as an equal bulk of 
silver, and does not oxidize easily. It competes somewhat with cop- 
per in the electrical industry (cf. § 256). Besides the more familiar 


uses, it is coming to be employed extensively for musical-instrument 
construction, camera cases, dress-suit-case frames, mailing tubes, 
artificial limbs, refrigerator linings, racks, and railway-car linings. 

Few nations, as yet, produce aluminum. It is predicted 1 that coun- 
tries with abundant and cheap water power, like India and Japan, will 
soon be important producers, and that within the next few years the 
world's output will be several times what it is at present. The world's 
production is, approximately, 98,000,000 pounds. Our yield is about 
three tenths of the whole ; Switzerland, France, and Great Britain 
contribute the rest. The growth of the aluminum industry in the 
United States has been connected with a single plant, — the Pittsburg 
Reduction Company, — which on January 1, 1907, changed its name 
to the Aluminum Company of America. In 1906 it was the only 
producer of the commodity in the United States. 

262. Quicksilver. Quicksilver or mercury is a fluid metal. It 
occurs native but more commonly as a sulphide of mercury, or cin- 
nabar. The method of reducing the ore consists in volatilization 
(freeing the mercury from the associated elements) and condensa- 
tion (reducing the vapor to liquid form and collecting it). The com- 
mercial product is shipped in iron flasks containing about 75 pounds 
avoirdupois net. Hitherto its principal use has been in recovering 
the precious metals by amalgamation, but recently the increasing 
adoption of other processes, especially in the United States, has de- 
creased the demand. Mercury has many other uses ; combined with 
tin it forms an amalgam for silvering mirrors ; it is used also in 
dentistry, medicine, and in making scientific instruments. 

The United States, Spain, Austria, Italy, Russia, Mexico, Hungary, 
and Algeria are the important and almost the sole producers. China 
has deposits of cinnabar that have been worked since the fourteenth 
century; the output at present is small and it is used at home for 
the manufacture of vermilion. The value of the world's annual yield 
of quicksilver is between $6,000,000 and $7,000,000, and our con- 
tribution is about one fifth of this figure. The greatest single mine 
is at Almaden, Spain, which has been worked from Roman times ; 
for a long time Spain led in production, but in 1850 the famous 
mines at New Almaden, California, were opened and since then our 
yield has been important. The output of the California mines is now 
about seven ninths of the whole yield of the United States. The 
other producing states are Texas, Nevada, and Oregon. Recently a 
cinnabar deposit has been located in Arizona. 

1 See The Mineral Industry during 1906, p. 18. 



263. Coal. The present-day industrial organization is so dependent 
upon an adequate supply of coal that its abundance or scarcity in any 
particular countiy is a fairly safe index of the place that country is 
capable of taking in the struggle for industrial supremacy. It is a 
significant fact that the three great rivals in this struggle — the 
United States, Great Britain, and Germany — are by far the greatest 
producers of coal. A moment's reflection will show how greatly 
handicapped any one of these countries would be if all of its coal 
had to be imported. Its great bulk as compared with its value sets 
a limit to the distance it may be carried. With the development of 
modern transportation systems this limit is being increased, and a 
country poorly supplied with coal is at a less disadvantage than it was 
fifty years ago. Coal is, more than ever, "the material energy of a 
country, the universal aid, the factor in everything we do." 

As regards the origin of the coal deposits, the following extract 
from "The Mining Industry during 1906 " (p. 168) is of interest : 

" A great many theories have been evolved dealing with the methods and forces 
that have operated in forming our coal deposits. Of the many ideas recently pre- 
sented, the one most favorably commented upon ignores the conclusion that our 
coal beds are the remains of great primeval forests. More careful thought and 
examination lead us to believe that all of our coal seams have been formed from 
minute vegetable matter that probably lived and flourished at the bottom of inland 
lakes, being deposited year after year for a long period, with layers of sand and 
other material, while later ages furnished the pressure and heat necessary to com- 
plete the transformation. The principal argument in favor of this theory is that 
the parting between coal seams and the underlying and overlapping strata are 
perfectly uniform and even. The strata forming the floor for beds of coal do not 
show any traces of the roots or stumps of large trees, nor indeed any evidences of 
large vegetable growth." 

Two classes of coal figure most extensively in commerce. They 
are bituminous and anthracite. The former contains from 85 to 88 
per cent of carbon, along with gas, tar, etc. It lights easily and burns 
with a bright flame, and is the great fuel for producing steam and 
for the manufacture of coke. Anthracite contains more carbon, some- 
times as much as 95 per cent, and less gaseous and tar products. It 
burns with little flame but produces great heat, and is used exten- 
sively for domestic purposes, especially in the eastern part of the 
United States. Another variety of much less use in industry than 

1 No attempt will be made to discuss here all of the long list of non-metallic 
minerals found in this country. Only the more important, from the standpoint of the 
money value of their annual output or of their use in the arts, will be considered. 


either of the above is lignite or brown coal. It contains relatively a 
small amount of carbon, approximately 70 per cent. Coke is an arti- 
ficial product made by heating certain grades of bituminous coal in 
ovens with a limited supply of air, the volatile matter passing off, and 
the residue, which is hard carbon, resembling anthracite, is the coke. 
At the present time it is the great fuel used in smelting iron in this 
country, for 90 per cent or more of our pig iron is thus produced. 

Coal is a widely distributed mineral, yet, as already indicated, its 
production is controlled largely by the United States, the United 
Kingdom, and Germany. From 1870 to 1900 the output of these 
three countries was five sixths of the world's total yield, although 
they contained but one tenth of the world's population. Their rela- 
tive outputs have changed considerably during the last forty years. 
In 1868 the United Kingdom produced over three times as much as 
either the United States or Germany, their respective outputs being 
52, 14.5 and 16.5 per cent of the whole. Between 1875 and 1880 
there commenced a substantial increase in our yield, due in part at 
least to the demand of our factories, railways, blast furnaces, and 
gas works. The United Kingdom held first place as a producer of 
coal until 1899, when she was forced into the second rank by the 
United States. The world's annual production of coal is about 
1,365,000,000 short tons. 1 The United States produces between 
35 and 40 per cent of the yearly output, and, excluding the United 
Kingdom, our production exceeds that of all the other countries 
of the world combined. Moreover, it is the most valuable mineral 
product of the country, exceeding $600,000,000 annually. The pig- 
iron product comes next to it in value (cf. § 255). 

There are eight principal coal fields in the United States. The 
anthracite area consists of about 484 square miles in the state of 
Pennsylvania (cf. § 63). In addition to this well-known district there 
are two minor ones in the Rocky Mountains, one in Gunnison County, 
Colorado, the other in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. The bitumi- 
nous fields are scattered over a wide area, including about 335,000 
square miles. They are the Triassic field in Virginia and North 
Carolina ; the Appalachian, extending 900 miles from New York 
to Alabama, with a width varying from 30 to 1 80 miles ; the North- 
ern, in central Michigan ; the Eastern, in Indiana, Illinois, and 
western Kentucky ; the Western, including the coal areas west of 
the Mississippi, south of 43 north latitude, and east of the Rocky 
Mountains; the Rocky Mountain field, in the states and territories of 

1 The output by countries is shown in the Appendix, Table XIV. 


those mountains ; and the Pacific coast field, in the states of Wash- 
ington, Oregon, and California. The percentage outputs of these 
districts in 191 2, which was a representative year, were as follows : 

Appalachian 68.30 

Eastern 18.45 

Western 5.90 

Rocky Mountains 6.32 

Pacific Coast .76 

Northern .27 

Triassic l 

Pennsylvania leads with nearly 50 per cent of the total production. 
The other states in order of output are West Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, 
Alabama, and Indiana. 

Various attempts have been made from time to time to estimate the 
world's coal supply. Such estimates are of little value on account of 
the lack of adequate information. However, they demonstrate the fact 
that there is little danger of exhausting the fields in the near future. 
Germany, for instance, is said to have a reserve of 280,000,000,000 
tons, which, allowing for a substantial increase of output beyond the 
present, would last till the year 3000. 

264. Petroleum. Petroleum, or rock oil, is a natural inflammable 
liquid obtained, usually, by boring into the earth, whence it gushes or 
is pumped out. It occurs in chambers or reservoirs amidst strata of 
rocks, and often is associated with water and natural gas. In such 
cases there are three layers, the water being at the lowest level, the 
gas at the highest, and the oil between. Numerous commercial 
products are obtained from the crude petroleum by distillation and 
other processes, among which are kerosene, benzene, gasoline, naphtha, 
heavy or lubricating oils, and paraffin or asphalt, according as the 
crude oil has a paraffin or. an asphaltic base. The illuminating- 
mineral oils, in competition with vegetable and animal oils, are 
rapidly driving the latter out of the market (cf. § 245). The same 
is true of mineral lubricants. The latter are less liable to spontaneous 
combustion and are more lasting than other oils. There are mam- 
grades of crude petroleum ; hence the qualities of the refined oils are 
innumerable. A great number of by-products, such as vaseline 
and candles, are associated with the manufacture of petroleum. 

Until comparatively recent times the production of petroleum was 
insignificant, although crude oil is found in many parts of the world, 

1 No figure reported for 191 2, although a number of years before there had been a 
small output separately reported. 


and has been known at least from the time of the Greeks and Romans. 
On account of the peculiar nature of the product it required the 
development of modern transportation systems, including pipe lines, 
before it could serve any but local markets. Consequently, not until 
within the last half century, when the fields of Russia and the United 
States began to be worked, did the oil business come into prominence. 

The world's annual production of crude petroleum is, roughly speak- 
ing, more than 350,000,000 barrels of 42 gallons each. The United 
States and Russia contribute about 80 per cent of the whole, and 
the United States alone 60 per cent. Since 1902 the United States 
has taken a big lead over Russia in oil production ; the Russian yield 
in 1905 and 1906 was below the normal, owing to a disastrous fire in 
August of the former year, which destroyed a large number of drilling 
cranes. For this and other reasons it probably will be some time 
before the normal output is reached. The balance of the world's 
petroleum comes from various countries ; Mexico, Galicia, Roumania, 
India, Japan, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo are the most important. 

The first oil well in this country was driven near Titusviile, 
Pennsylvania, in 1858, and the following year 2000 barrels were pro- 
duced ; for seventeen years Pennsylvania was the only state producing 
oil. Later the industry grew to large proportions, and by the opening 
of the present century the annual output was over 63,000,000 barrels. 
By 1906 this figure was doubled. Thousands of miles of pipe lines 
lead out from the wells to the refineries, thus effecting a great saving 
in the cost of transportation. 

The oil fields of the United States as given by the Geological 
Survey 1 are as follows : 

Appalachian field, producing oil of paraffin base of the best quality. 
It extends along the western side of the Appalachian Mountains from 
New York, through Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, 
and Kentucky into Tennessee. 

Lima-hidiana-Illiiiois field, containing oil of paraffin base. This 
field includes the northeastern part of Ohio, a strip through the 
middle of Indiana, and the southeastern portion of Illinois. 

Mid-continent field, producing oil with a mixed asphalt and paraf- 
fin base of varying qualities. It includes western Missouri, Kansas, 
and Oklahoma. 

Gulf field, producing oil chiefly with an asphalt base. It is obtained 
from the coastal plains of Texas and Louisiana and from central 

1 The Illinois field is now reported as a separate field. 


C 'alifornia field, the oil being of an asphalt base. At present it is 
obtained from southern California and from the south end of the San 
Joaquin Valley. Wyoming, Colorado, and Michigan also produce 
small quantities. 

On reference to the table l in the Appendix, it appears that the 
production of the Appalachian field has, within a short period, fallen 
from about a sixth to less than an eighth of the total output. The 
change has been brought about largely by the increased output of 
other fields rather than by any serious absolute decline in production. 
Other striking changes can be observed from the table. 

The petroleum industry is growing somewhat in Roumania, Peru, 
India, and other countries where the discoveries of the mineral give 
every assurance of an abundant world's supply for a long time to 

265. Natural gas. As already mentioned, natural gas generally 
is found associated with petroleum ; formerly, when the latter was 
being sought, the gas was considered a nuisance. It is said to have 
been first used in 1821, when the town of Fredonia, Xew York, util- 
ized it for illuminating and heating, but not until half a century later 
was it commonly employed for these purposes. One of the first 
instances of its being used in industry was in 1874, when it was 
brought 18 miles in pipes to an iron mill near Pittsburg and used 
in heating and puddling furnaces. At the present day the value of 
our yearly output of natural gas is nearly $85,000,000. It is gen- 
erally consumed in the state where it is produced, for illuminating 
purposes or for supplying heat in neighboring furnaces. Pennsyl- 
vania and West Virginia are the largest producers, contributing 
in an average year upwards of 60 per cent of the whole supply, 
while Ohio, Oklahoma, and Kansas follow next in order. 

266. Clay products. Clay products form a large item in the total 
value of our non-metallic mineral output. In an average year their 
value is upwards of $160,000,000, so that in money value they stand 
second only to coal. They may be divided roughly into two classes, 
brick and tile, and pottery. The former comprise about 80 per cent 
of the total value of the output. The clay-working industries are an 
important factor in the material development of the country, since 
brick and tile products enter extensively into so many kinds of struc- 
tural work. The cities, of course, are the largest consumers, and when 
building operations decline the clay industry is seriously affected. The 
clay resources of the United States are illimitable, and practically 

1 Table XV. 


every known variety is found. The value of the raw commodity is 
dependent upon its nearness to points of consumption, since only 
the highest grades will stand the cost of transportation. Every state 
and territory in the Union figures to a greater or less extent in the 
production of clay goods. Ohio leads, while Pennsylvania, New 
Jersey, Illinois, and New York come next in order. 

267. Stone. An important source of this country's material wealth 
is found in the abundance and great variety of stone available for 
building and other purposes. The value of the annual output at the 
quarries is over $75,000,000, or about one half that of the anthracite 
coal production. Limestone, granite (cf. § 38) and trap rock, marble, 
sandstone, and bluestone are the principal stones quarried. Lime- 
stone constitutes about 45 per cent of the total value of the output. 
The states in order of greatest production are Pennsylvania, Indiana, 
Ohio, Illinois, and New York (19 12). The chief use of limestone is (in 
crushed form) for road making, railroad ballast, and concrete, although 
its utilization for furnace flux, building stone, and in the chemical 
arts is important. One third of the value of the stone production 
consists of granite and trap rock. Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, 
California, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania figure among the chief pro- 
ducers. Granite has a variety of important uses, notably for building 
stone, monuments, paving blocks, and curbstones. The marble yield 
is about 10 per cent of the whole, and its greatest use is for building 
and for monumental work. Vermont easily leads in output, followed 
by Georgia, Tennessee, and Colorado. The production of sand- 
stone and bluestone is comparatively small, and the output seems to 
be dropping off somewhat, owing to the fact that cement and concrete 
blocks are becoming serious competitors. Pennsylvania, New York, 
and Ohio are the principal producers. 

268. Other non-metallic minerals. Other non-metallic mineral products of 
notable value are cement, lime, phosphate rock, mineral waters, salt, zinc white, 
and slate. Valuable data regarding them can be obtained from the various volumes 
of " Mineral Resources of the United States," published by the United States Geo- 
logical Survey, or from "The Mineral Industry during 191 1," edited by Charles Of. 



269. Introductory. Hitherto our discussion has been concerned 
mainly with the natural resources of this country, but a large propor- 
tion of these are not utilized by man in the raw state and conse- 
quently they must go through various processes before they emerge 
in a form which will satisfy his various tastes. Hence our discussion 
at this point naturally leads over to manufactures. Lack of space 
prevents a discussion of the circumstances connected with their de- 
velopment from colonial times. The table 1 in the Appendix shows, 
however, their rapid expansion since 1850. 

The influence of environmental factors upon the location of indus- 
tries is difficult to trace, and especially is this true under present-day 
conditions. But it is possible to point out in a general way that 
there were certain controlling factors in the establishment of some 
of the manufacturing plants. For example, the excellent water power 
due to the glaciation of New England, and the absence of extensive 
stretches of agricultural land that could easily be tilled, contributed 
largely to the early establishment of mills and factories in that sec- 
tion of the country (cf. § 63). It is probably true that a number of 
the industries still located there could now be carried on successfully 
elsewhere ; but the fact that this region got a start over others has 
tended to keep down competition, to a greater or less extent, from 
other quarters. Again, it was almost inevitable that the iron and 
steel industries should develop primarily near the coal mines of 
southwestern Pennsylvania and along the shores of lakes Michigan 
and Erie rather than in the vicinity of the iron mines of Lake Supe- 
rior (§ 63) ; for it is cheaper to send the iron ore to the coal than 
vice versa. Other instances of the geographic or other factors in the 
environment as influencing the location of industries will be pointed 
out in succeeding pages, while numerous others will doubtless occur 
to the reader. 

270. The factory system. The factory system which already had 
a foothold in England at the close of the eighteenth century did not 

1 Table XVI. 




become generally established in the United States until the second 
quarter of the nineteenth century. Agriculture was the predominat- 
ing occupation, and many of the domestic articles necessary to the 
greater mass of the people were made in their own homes, while the 
wealthier classes drew upon other countries, when necessary, to sup- 
ply their wants ; hence the comparatively small value of our manu- 
factures in 1850. The greatest development has taken place since 
1880, and numerous causes have contributed to this expansion, 
notably the increased supply of raw materials, improved transpor- 
tation facilities, increase of population, higher purchasing power of 
the masses, and the foreign demand for certain manufactures. To- 
day we lead the world as a manufacturing nation, but the enormous 
demands of the home market are such that only about one twentieth 
of the total product is exported. The industries are also greatly diver- 
sified and are widely scattered throughout the country, yet the densely 
populated region of the northeast is the most truly manufacturing 
district. New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Massachusetts 
are now the leading states, having together 43 per cent of the 
establishments and 50 per cent of the wage earners, and contributing 
5 1 per cent of the value of the output of the entire country. Again, 
the factories in the territory east of the Mississippi River and north 
of the Ohio River and Mason and Dixon's Line employ three fourths 
of all the wage earners and turn out nearly the same fraction of the 
value of the total product. As regards the latter feature, slaughtering 
and meat packing are the most important industries, although the 
manufacture of textile products gives employment to the largest 
number of wage earners. 

271. Groups of American manufactures. The Census Bureau has 
divided the 264 different classes of manufactures that are being 
carried on in the United States into 14 groups. These with the 
number of establishments, the capital, the wages paid, and the gross 
value of the products of each are shown in the Appendix. 1 

272. Food and kindred products. This group surpasses all others 
in the value of its products. The greater quantity of the raw mate- 
rials used in the manufacture of foods is obtained from agriculture, 
and, as a rule, the articles produced by the establishments are ready 
for final consumption. Important items falling within this group are 
slaughtering and meat-packing products ; flour and grist-mill products ; 
butter, cheese, and condensed milk ; canned and preserved fruits, 
vegetables, and fish, and refined sugar. 

1 Table XVII. 


The development of the slaughtering and meat-packing industry 
has been rapid. Fifty years ago the capital invested was less than 
$3,500,000, while to-day it is nearly $550,000,000. The center of 
the industry which in 1850 was in the Ohio Valley has moved farther 
west, and there has been a marked tendency towards concentration in 
large centers in the central and western states near the great stock- 
raising sections (§ 239) and where good transportation facilities are 
found. That is to say, the business is becoming adjusted to its best 
environment where economies may be practiced in saving transporta- 
tion charges in the initial stages of manufacture ; it is much cheaper 
to send canned meat a considerable distance to market than to as- 
semble the cattle for slaughtering at points near the consumers but 
which may be thousands of miles from the stock-raising centers. 
Chicago leads in this industry, contributing 30 per cent of the value 
of all the products. Kansas City, Kansas, and South Omaha, Ne- 
braska, are second and third respective!' 

Our enormous cereal crops (cf. §§ 210, 217, 218, 219) give rise to 
an extensive flour- and grist-milling industry ; and the development 
of grain production has been followed by a corresponding increase in 
its manufacture. In 1850 the value of the products of the flour and 
grist mills was $136,000,000; at the present time it is over $900,- 
000,000. The center of the industry is in the North Central States, 
where over 50 per cent of the capital is invested and nearly 60 per 
cent of the value of the products appears. Minneapolis, on account 
of its favorable position with reference to the wheat belt, and with an 
abundance of water power furnished by the Falls of St. Anthony 
(cf. § 93), has become the chief milling center of the United States 
and of the world. In 1904 the value of the output of the mills in 
Minneapolis was five and one-half times that of the next largest mill- 
ing center, New York City. Buffalo, Milwaukee, and Kansas City, 
in the order named, follow these two leaders. Wheat flour forms 
two thirds of the total value of the products, while the by-products 
in its manufacture are over 10 per cent. Other important items are 
corn meal, rye and buckwheat flour, and feed. 

Butter, cheese, and condensed milk to the value of $364,000,000 
annually are now factory products. Fifty years ago practically all of 
the dairy products were manufactured on the farms ; but, as a natural 
development in the evolution of industry, creameries, cheese factories, 
and condenseries came to be established, and the making of dairy 
products was separated from farming. In 1850 there were only 8 
cheese factories in the United States ; in 1909 there were nearly 


8500. About two thirds of all dairy products are made in six states, — 
New York, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. 
Near the large cities there is a tendency for farmers to sell their 
milk and cream directly to the consumers, but where the local 
demand is small these commodities go to the manufacturing plants. 

On account of the perishable nature of many food products, much 
time and effort has been spent in perfecting methods whereby they 
may be preserved for use out of season and in localities where they 
are not produced. The process of canning in hermetically sealed jars 
was developed successfully in France at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century. Attempts were made to introduce the industry into 
the United States about 1825, but not until after the middle of the 
century did it become of any importance. Maryland soon became 
the center of the canning business, but Maine, New York, and New 
Jersey were prominent. The industry was confined to fruits and vege- 
tables for a considerable time, but later it was extended to meats, 
fish, and oysters. The total value of the canned goods, exclusive of 
meats, is over $15 0,000,000, and fruits and vegetables constitute over 
55 per cent of the whole. The four leading states are California, 
Maryland, New York, and Washington. Favorable climatic conditions 
in the first-named state have made it famous for its fruits ; hence 
it leads in preserving, and peaches are the largest item. Maryland 
easily leads in the canning of tomatoes, and New York in peas. 

In order that all possible economies may be taken advantage of, 
sugar refining is done in immense plants. The difference between 
the price of the raw and refined product is only about one cent per 
pound. Largely to save the cost of transporting the raw commodity 
which is imported in enormous quantities, the refineries are situated 
near the coast, notably in such cities as Brooklyn, Jersey City, Phila- 
delphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. 

273. Iron and steel and their secondary products. This group, 
which ranks second in value of products and first in capital repre- 
sented and annual wages paid, comprises 37 different industries, of 
which the manufacture of iron and steel is the basis. Upon this is 
founded all the other industries of this group, such as those which 
produce structural iron and steel, rails, machinery, tools, hardware, 
tin plate, cutlery, wire, and numerous other more highly refined com- 
modities such as watch springs, pens, and needles. The principal seat 
of the iron and steel industry is in western Pennsylvania (§§ 63, 269) 
although it is found in 27 states. Between 80 and 90 per cent of the 
total output comes from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Alabama, 



the first-mentioned state producing over one half of the country's 
output in an average year. Pennsylvania lead., also in the production 
of structural steel, with three fourths of the total product ; next in order 
are New Jersey, Illinois, and Ohio. Nearly 2,860,000 tons of rails 
are manufactured annually ; a dozen or more establishments are en- 
gaged in the process, and Pennsylvania turns out about three tenths 
of the whole product. Illinois, New York, and Maryland are the 
next largest producers. 

274. Textiles in general. The raw materials which form the basis 
of the textile manufactures are vegetable and animal fibers (§§ 223- 
228, 241, 323, 376, 406-41 1). It was in this branch of industry that 
the factory system arose in the United States. This group ranks high 
among our manufactures not only on account of the enormous output 
of the factories, but also because it furnishes the material for practi- 
cally all of the clothing of the masses excepting leather goods and 
hats. Besides, it furnishes many articles of household use, such as 
carpets, draperies, and towels. More wage earners derive a livelihood 
from it than from any other group. Our textile manufactures com- 
prise 44 industries, but the most important are those which relate to 
cotton, wool, and silk. Brief discussions of some of the leading 
items follow. 

275. Cotton manufactures. The cotton mills of the United States 
consume less than one quarter of all the raw cotton grown in the 
world, standing, in this respect, second only to those of the United 
Kingdom (cf. § 338). Cotton factories were in operation in this 
country before the beginning of the nineteenth century, but it was 
not until foreign importations were cut off by the War of 1 8 1 2 that 
cotton manufacturing was firmly established. Since that time the 
business has expanded rapidly, each successive decade showing an 
increase in the number of operatives and in the quantity and value 
of the product. By 1850 the output of the cotton mills was valued 
at $62,000,000, while now it is nearly $700,000,000. The chief 
seat of the industry always has been in New England, where the 
moist climate (cf. § 337) and cheap water power along the "fall line" 
furnish a favorable environment (cf. § 269). Within recent years 
important cotton manufactures have developed in the South, the 
number of establishments increasing from 161 in 1880 to 550 in 
1904. Of the 27,396,000 or more spindles in operation in the whole 
country, 1 5 ,000,000 are in the New England and 9,800,000 in the 
Southern States. Massachusetts still remains, as it always has been, 
the leading state in this industry, having more spindles than the next 


three producers combined. Recently South Carolina has taken second 
place from Rhode Island, and North Carolina, Georgia, and New 
Hampshire hold, respectively, the fourth, fifth, and sixth places. 
Spinning and weaving are carried on usually in the same factory. 
Where this is not the case the establishments are generally small. 
The largest output of American cotton mills consists of various 
classes of coarse- or medium-grade goods such as calico, gingham, 
and shirting, for which there is a big demand in the home market. 
There is a tendency to produce finer goods, especially on the part of 
the mills in the South. 

276. Woolen manufactures. Here are included five different 
classes of manufactures, varying greatly, however, in their relative 
importance. The three of large value are worsted goods, "woolen" 
goods, and carpets. Those of less value are felt goods and wool 
hats. Hosiery and knit goods will be discussed under a separate 
heading. The total value of the products has increased from less 
than $75,000,000 in i860 to nearly $500,000,000 at the present 
time. About 500,000,000 pounds of wool are consumed by our mills 
annually, a good deal of which is imported (§ 241). All important 
manufacturing countries produce less wool than they require in their 
textile industries, so that regions with large grazing areas, such as 
Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, are drawn 
upon to meet the demand. 

Many mills weave both woolen and worsted yarns, so that it is diffi- 
cult to classify them according to the nature of the product. Merinos, 
serges, cashmeres, linings, and other stuff goods are important worsted 
manufactures. Cloth for men's and women's suits, blankets, and car- 
riage robes are leading items among " woolen " goods. The worsted 
industry was scarcely known in this country in i860, but now it ex- 
ceeds the "woolen" manufactures in the value of product. More- 
over, it consumes the largest amount of wool as well as that of the 
best quality. 

In the manufacture of carpets we surpass all other nations both in 
quantity and variety. The American producers have almost a com- 
plete monopoly of the home market. Only a small percentage of 
the total amount expended yearly in this country for carpets goes for 
imported stock. The latter is largely of Oriental production. 

As already mentioned, the manufactures of felt goods and wool 
hats are comparatively insignificant. The former consist chiefly of 
felt cloth, endless belts, and boot-and-shoe linings. The production 
of wool hats is declining. 



Massachusetts ranks first in the production of both worsted and 
woolen goods and third in that of carpets. Pvhode Island, Pennsyl- 
vania, and New Jersey are, in order, the other largest manufacturers 
of worsteds ; while Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, and New 
Hampshire rank high in the production of woolen goods. New York 
holds first place in the output of carpets, Pennsylvania holding 
second place. 

277. Hosiery and knit goods. The knitting machine was invented 
in England as early as the latter part of the sixteenth century, but 
not until very recent times has the machinery been perfected so that 
goods of fine quality could be made at a cost sufficiently low to be 
within the reach of the masses. As late as 1880 the knit goods 
manufactured in the United States were of the cheapest and coarsest 
kind, and 74 cents per capita was the average annual expenditure for 
them. All of the finer sorts were imported to the extent of one fifth 
of the total consumption. The per capita expenditure now is about 
$1.80, and foreign importations are on the decrease. Since there 
has been also a great reduction in price, it is fair to say that the 
American people consume three or four times as many machine- 
made knit goods as they did 25 years ago. Hosiery and knit under- 
wear, including silk goods, account for nearly 80 per cent of the total 
value ($258,000,000) of the product. Cohoes, New York, is the 
great center of underwear manufacture, and Philadelphia of hosiery. 

278. Silk manufactures. In this important branch of our textile 
industry we are dependent entirely upon foreign countries for the 
raw material. The climatic conditions in the United States are 
favorable for the growth of mulberry trees and for the rearing of 
silkworms ; but much hand labor is necessary in preparing the 
skeins of raw silk from the cocoons, and the comparatively high cost 
of labor in this country prevents us from competing in raw-silk pro- 
duction with the countries of southern Europe and the Orient. The 
manufacture of sewing silk as a household occupation in New Eng- 
land was the commencement of our silk industry. Ribbons were 
made at Baltimore as early as 1829. Until the time of the Civil War 
these commodities, and fringes, gimps, and tassels were the principal 
items in the output. Since 1 860 the growth of the industry has been 
rapid, and various classes of goods such as silk yarn, twist and sewing 
silk, dress goods, velvets, plushes, tapestries, ribbons, and laces are 
made in great quantities to the value of nearly $255,000,000 annu- 
ally. This makes the United States one of the leading silk-manu- 
facturing countries in the world. Recently Pennsylvania has vied with 


New Jersey for the leadership in silk manufacturing, though Pater- 
son, New Jersey, is still the "Lyons of America." The industry is 
confined largely to four states, — the two already mentioned, Connec- 
ticut, and New York, — for 90 per cent of the total capital invested 
in silk-manufacturing plants is found in these states. 

279. Flax, hemp, and jute products. Here are included not only 
the manufactures of flax, hemp, and jute, but those of other vegetable 
fibers not yet discussed such as sisal and Manila (§§323, 409). The 
products are greatly diversified, varying from gunny bags and ships' 
hawsers to delicate toweling and sewing thread. Besides these, other 
important items are cordage, binder twine, burlaps, carpets, and rugs. 
The annual value of such manufactures is about $63,000,000. The 
most important branch of the industry is the production of cordage 
and twine, in which three fourths of the number of establishments 
and three fifths of the number of employees are engaged. 

280. Lumber and its manufactures. There are three distinct but 
interdependent branches of the lumbering industry, namely, logging, 
sawing, and re-manufacturing certain sawn products. Most of the 
important facts in connection with our lumbering industry were 
given under the head of Forest Resources (§§ 229, 230, 231). The 
annual value of the raw forest products is greatly increased by the 
re-manufacture of a considerable quantity of rough lumber into ceil- 
ing, flooring, sashes, doors, blinds, interior finishings, and furniture. 
The latter (furniture) to the value of $265,000,000 per year is manu- 
factured in the United States. Important centers of the industry are 
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Grand Rapids. 

281. Chemicals and allied products. Within this group are included 
a great variety of manufactures such as sulphuric and other acids, 
sodas, potashes, alums, coal-tar products, cyanides, fertilizers, bleach- 
ing materials, chemicals produced by the aid of electricity, dyestuffs, 
tanning materials, paints and varnishes, explosives, plastics, essential 
oils, compressed and liquefied gases, and a large number of miscel- 
laneous chemicals. The production of these commodities is widely 
distributed, but over 50 per cent of all the establishments and about 
60 per cent of the products belong to Pennsylvania, New York, New 
Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois. 

282. Metals and metal products other than iron and steel. Thirty- 
four classes of industries are included in this group. In general, they 
relate to the smelting and refining of copper, lead, and zinc ; to the 
reduction of gold and silver; and to the making up of these metals 
into such finished products as watches, clocks, jewelry, needles, and 


pins. Large quantities of copper are consumed in making electrical 
apparatus, but so many other materials figure in its manufacture that 
it is considered under the heading Miscellaneous industries (§ 290). 
About 50 per cent of the value of the annual product of this whole 
group consists of the smelted and refined copper, lead, and zinc. 

283. Paper and printing. Here are included the manufacture of 
wood pulp and all kinds of paper, together with such allied industries 
as printing, publishing, bookbinding, blank-book making, and paper- 
box manufacturing. Of the 21 industries included in this group 
printing and publishing are by far the most important. They include 
85 per cent of the establishments and 58 per cent of the value of the 
products. The increase in the business of printing and publishing 
since 1850 has been rapid, the per capita value of the output now 
being tenfold greater than in 1850. Six states (New York, Illinois, 
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Missouri) contribute two 
thirds of the value of the products of the entire industry. 

284. Leather and its finished products. The primary industry in 
this group is tanning, and the plants engaged in this work furnish 
the raw material for eight or more other industries included here. 
The manufacture of boots and shoes is the leading item, although 
large quantities of leather are used yearly for making gloves, har- 
nesses and saddles, pocketbooks, trunks, and valises. The figures of 
the last census show that Massachusetts ranked first in every partic- 
ular concerning shoe manufacturing, and that, in the same way, the 
New England States are far in the lead of any other group of states, 
employing more than one half the total capital and making more than 
one half the total output of boots and shoes. The western states, how- 
ever, are forging ahead rapidly in this branch of manufactures. 

285. Vehicles for land transportation. Eleven industries are in- 
cluded here. Five sixths of the total product of the group arise from 
three of them, namely, the operation of repair shops of steam railway 
companies, the manufacture of carriages and wagons, and the build- 
ing of steam railway cars. The value of automobiles made per year 
increased from less than $5,000,000 in 1900 to over $600,000,000 in 
19 1 4. On the other hand, the output of bicycles declined from 
$24,000,000 to $5,000,000 during the same period. 

286. Liquors and beverages. The production of distilled, malt, 
and vinous liquors, of mineral and soda waters, and of malt falls 
within this group. From 1900 to 1905 the number of establishments 
increased over 1 1 per cent, and the value of their output more than 
30 per cent. Illinois is the largest producer of distilled liquors, and 


Kentucky holds second place. New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and 
Wisconsin, in the order named, lead in the production of malt liquors. 
California, New Y r ork, and Ohio lead in the output of wines. 

287. Clay, glass, and stone products. The principal industries of 
this group are the manufacture of brick, tile, pottery, terra cotta, and 
glass. It is in the building trades that clay products are most largely 
used, and their consumption is on the increase. There is scarcely 
any variety of clay commodity that is not manufactured in the United 
States, although the output of the finer grades is small. Our persist- 
ence in the importation of the latter is due largely to the fact that 
so much delicate hand labor is required in their manufacture, which 
makes the industry ill-adapted to our industrial conditions. Ohio, 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois, in order, are the 
largest producers of clay goods. There has been a marked advance- 
ment in the glass industry during the last half century, chiefly, how- 
ever, in the quality of the output. Since 1900 many economies have 
been introduced, resulting in cheaper production. Pennsylvania pro- 
duces over one third of the total value of glass ; Ohio and Indiana 
take second and third places respectively. 

288. Tobacco products. The only industries included in this group 
are the manufacture of cigars, cigarettes, chewing and smoking to- 
bacco, and snuff. From i860 to 19 14 the value of the products 
increased from $31,000,000 to $490,000,000. Cigars and cigarettes 
account for two thirds of the aggregate value of the total output. Penn- 
sylvania leads in the number of cigars manufactured, New York and 
Ohio coming next in order. New York and Virginia make about 85 
per cent of the cigarettes manufactured in the United States. North 
Carolina, Missouri, and Kentucky are the states producing the most 
chewing and smoking tobacco and snuff. 

289. Shipbuilding. Under this head are included the building 
and repairing of iron, steel, and wooden vessels, yachts, boats, barges, 
and scows, excepting what is done in governmental establishments. 
Since 1850 the value of the products has increased fourfold and 
the capital invested over twentyfold. This indicates that, with the 
transition from sail to steam, and from wooden to iron and steel ves- 
sels, large capital is necessary to develop the industry. At the present 
day about 85 per cent of the total capital invested in shipbuilding is 
in the iron and steel branch of the business. 

290. Miscellaneous industries. This group includes all branches 
of our manufactures which could not be classed conveniently with 
any of the foregoing groups. There are 65 distinct industries of 


greater or less importance, with a combined yearly product valued at 
over $1,750,000,000. Some of the more important are those con- 
nected with the manufacture of agricultural implements, buttons, coke, 
electrical machinery, electrical apparatus and supplies, ice, musical 
instruments, lead pencils, and pens. In all there are upwards of 
19,000 establishments in which are employed nearly 600,000 wage 
earners. More detailed information concerning this group of industries 
and the others already considered may be gained by consulting various 
publications of the Bureau of the Census. 



291. Introductory. Already it has been seen (§§ 162 ff., 181 ff.) 
that the development and utilization of transportation facilities are nec- 
essary expedients in the struggle for existence, for neither individuals 
nor groups of men are entirely self-sufficient in providing for their 
diversified wants. The production of raw commodities as well as 
manufactures is, for various reasons already indicated, localized ; and 
trade routes and vehicles of transportation must be developed to facili- 
tate exchange. The fact that few primitive societies without some 
knowledge of the art of navigation have ever been known, gives evi- 
dence of its indispensability in the struggle for existence ; likewise, 
devices for facilitating land movements have been used from time 
immemorial. The degree to which man has perfected the transporta- 
tion system on any particular stage of the arts has depended, in a large 
part, upon necessity, and the further it was carried towards perfec- 
tion, the more it contributed to the comfort and well-being of society. 
Again, it has been shown (§§ 184, 185, 192) that such natural con- 
ditions as topography, density of vegetation, etc., were the controlling 
factors in determining the location of early land routes. Even at the 
present day, when man's control over nature is so great that at times 
it appears to have no limit, such factors continue to be reckoned with 
by engineers in locating public highways, railroads, etc. Obviously, 
among the primary motives prompting man to develop transporta- 
tion systems were the reduction of friction and the elimination of a 
considerable fraction of the time element in moving persons and prop- 
erty from place to place. The former took a great forward stride 
when the wheeled vehicle was invented, and, from that time to the 
present, modifications of the roadway to the vehicle have been in prog- 
ress. In the matter of annihilating distance, so great has been the 
development that places which even a century ago were practically 
isolated from each other are now at each other's doors, as it were, on 
account of the evolution of the railway. Oceans are no longer barriers 
to trade and travel, for the development of the modern steamship en- 
ables one to journey with an ease, safety, and speed which had not 



been dreamed of a hundred years ago. Moreover, the wealth of a 
country cannot be utilized to the greatest advantage unless there are 
good transportation facilities ; our great iron and steel industries would 
still be in their infancy, were it not for the excellently organized 
service afforded by the transportation companies on the Great Lakes. 
The vast wealth in our farm lands in the central West would still be 
unavailable, were it not for the railways which connect those regions 
with the seaboard. It is a well-known fact that water carriage is 
comparatively cheap, and, for this reason, those countries with long, 
irregular coast lines, well supplied with good harbors, or possessed 
of navigable rivers and canals have a great advantage in developing 
commerce as compared with others whose geographical environment 
is less favorable. 

292. Transportation routes of the Indians. An examination of the 
transportation systems of the American Indians shows many striking 
instances of the influence of the environment. By way of illustration 
let us consider for a moment the type of their water vehicle in the 
neighborhood of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. A 
glance at the map in this section of the continent and westward shows 
that there is an abundance of natural water ways separated here and 
there by portages ; consequently, it was quite possible for the roving 
aborigines to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles by water, 
were their boats light enough to carry across the portages. If they 
had made their boats of hollowed logs as did their brethren in the re- 
gion of the Caribbean Sea, the labor necessary to move them on land 
would have discouraged long-distance travel. But the Indians showed 
wonderful sagacity in utilizing for their craft the bark of the birch 
tree, which grew in abundance in the territory which now forms the 
northeastern part of the United States and southeastern Canada. 
Thus their canoes were made comparatively light and easy to handle. 
Again, in the location of their trails, which led from the Atlantic sea- 
board across the mountains, the Indians chose the lines of least resist- 
ance, selecting the valley of the Mohawk and the lowest passes of the 
mountains farther south. The influence of the physical environment 
is still further shown by the fact that marshes and other lowlands 
were avoided, the trails, in general, taking the longer but drier course 
around such obstacles. Many other examples of the influence of the 
environment upon the routes and vehicles of transportation of the 
Indians could be cited. 

293. Colonial conditions. In considering now, with the foregoing 
setting, the earlier history of the American colonies, before the 


westward movement of population had become important, we find 
that the improvements in transportation were inconsiderable and of a 
local character. Boats of small size were used for coastwise traffic and 
travel, and for similar purposes up and down the rivers. Crude 
roads were constructed through the forests, sometimes only wide 
enough for pack horses ; for a long time the only communications to 
the small western settlements were the Indian trails (§ 292), along 
which no bulky goods could be carried ; but few articles would pay for 
their conveyance over long distances, and so the amount of trading 
was small and the markets were limited in extent. In course of time, 
however, the trails gave way to roads and these to well-constructed 
turnpikes, which, for the time being, were considered adequate for 
trade and travel. Later canals and finally railroads were developed. 
With all their power the latter are already proving themselves in- 
capable of handling the nation's products with sufficient rapidity to 
avoid congestion during the busy seasons ; and various schemes for 
improving and enlarging the internal water ways are being urged 
(§§308, 309, 3io). 

294. Roads. Most of the colonies had legal provisions for road 
making, but how far these were carried out depended upon each 
particular district or county. Often the individual landowners were 
forced to cope with the problem of improving communications to widen 
the market for their surplus products. For a long time there was not 
sufficient community of interests to prompt adjoining colonies to co- 
operate in building intercolonial roads ; moreover, lack of capital and 
racial and religious differences retarded the movement. Even at the 
time of the Revolution there was not a good road of considerable 
length in any part of the country, and there were no permanent 
bridges over the large streams. Not until after the opening of the 
nineteenth century was travel in carriages at all common. Soon after 
the Revolution considerable attention was given to the improvement 
of land transportation in several of the states ; both private companies 
and state governments became interested in the matter. The Phila- 
delphia and Lancaster turnpike was opened in 1794 and gave con- 
siderable impetus to the new movement ; it was the first extensive 
turnpike ever constructed in the United States. During the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century the building of roads by private 
companies became a mania in the seaboard states ; these were de- 
signed especially to connect the coastal cities with the more populous 
inland towns. The states themselves voted money, set aside the pro- 
ceeds of land sales, and established lotteries to carry on the work of 


connecting up the frontier settlements with roads, the prospective 
income from which could not prompt private capital to undertake 
their construction. An agitation arose for the federal government 
to take a hand in the matter. The earlier years of the century were 
ones of abundant federal revenue, and so important was the question 
of transportation improvements considered, that a movement was 
started for using the surplus in the treasury for building roads and other 
means of communication. While the question of the constitutionality 
of such an enterprise was being considered, Albert Gallatin, Secre- 
tary of the Treasury, was instructed to prepare a report showing the 
state of the roads, bridges, water ways, etc., of the United States, and 
to draw up a plan for providing the country with an adequate system 
of internal improvements. The report, which advocated the expend- 
iture of $20,000,000, was submitted to Congress a short time after 
the Embargo had been laid. This was a most unpropitious time, 
for the surplus in the treasury was fast wasting away and the 
whole country was in commotion ; consequently, no action was taken 
to follow out Gallatin's plan. The only extensive transportation im- 
provement undertaken by the government during this period was the 
Cumberland Road, which ran from Fort Cumberland on the Potomac 
to Wheeling on the Ohio ; the work of construction was undertaken 
in 181 1 and the road was completed in 18 18. Later it was extended 
westward and completed to Springfield, Ohio ; partly completed to 
Vandalia, Illinois ; and surveyed but not definitely located to Jefferson 
City, Missouri. Congress appropriated the necessary funds for build- 
ing the road as " advances " to be paid back out of a " two per cent 
fund " which was to be accumulated by the sale of public lands in 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, etc. 

The building of the Erie Canal (18 17-182 5) (§ 296) was the oc- 
casion for the commencement of many other canals, and the mania 
for turnpike building subsided. Turnpikes, in most cases, were finan- 
cial failures, since the tolls were insufficient to pay dividends. Still, 
the reduced cost of transportation and the increased value of the 
lands adjacent to the roads helped to offset this deficiency. Most of 
the roads in the United States, as originally laid out, were located 
with little regard for topography ( cf . § 185) or drainage, since they 
followed the boundary lines of farms ; these were irregular in the east- 
ern states, so that often the roads were crooked and steep. Greater 
regularity occurred in the Middle West where the land was laid out 
by the government and the roads followed the section or quarter- 
section lines. 


There are now 2,456,000 miles of public roads in the United 
States. 1 Of these, about 287,000 miles are improved with some 
form of surfacing. The movement for further improving the public 
roads is attracting attention ; the mileage of hard-surfaced roads is 
increasing at the rate of several thousand miles a year. 2 

When railroads were first being built, it was thought that they 
would supplant the wagon roads; hence from about 1835 to 1890 
the latter were sadly neglected. At the present time, however, the 
necessity of improving them is being keenly felt, for the extensive 
travel and traffic passing over the roads make them, in a sense, im- 
portant feeders of the great railway transportation systems of the 
country. Besides, the invention of rubber-tired vehicles for use over 
considerable distances has focused attention upon the issue of road 

295. Canals. As early as 3500 b.c. artificial water ways for irriga- 
tion and drainage purposes were to be found in Egypt and Babylonia. 
The Suez Canal (not in its present channel) was partially excavated 
before 2000 b.c, and the Royal Canal, between the Tigris and the 
Euphrates, was opened at about the same time. Under the Roman 
emperors several canals were constructed — one from the Rhone to 
the Mediterranean, another from the Tiber to the sea. After the 
downfall of Rome in 476 a.d., canal building seemed to languish 
till the beginning of the ninth century, when Charlemagne attempted 
to connect the Danube and the Rhine. 3 In the seventeenth century 
the movement spread rapidly in Europe, the French being the most 
active. The eighteenth century saw the English engaged in the 
work with great vigor. 

Before the invention of locks, canals could be built only on com- 
paratively level surfaces. The Egyptians and the Chinese, however, 
seem to have adapted their works to the varying contours of the land 
by transferring their boats to successive levels by a form of inclined 
plane ; the same device is used in China to the present day. It is 
not known when or by whom the lock was invented ; the honor is 
claimed by both Italy and Holland. It is known, though, that the 

1 Figures given here are for 1916. They do not include roads in Alaska and the 
island possessions, nor do they include streets or boulevards in incorporated cities 
and towns. 

2 An improved road is one which n not only has been properly graded and drained, 
but which has been surfaced with a material or combination of materials, or to which 
some preparation has been applied resulting in a reasonably smooth, firm, and dur- 
able surface." 

3 The Ludwig Canal now affords communication between these two rivers. 


lock was in common use in both countries by the latter part of the 
fifteenth century, and from that time on topography ceased to be as 
strong a controlling factor in building artificial water ways as formerly. 
296. Erie Canal. It is quite probable that the first canal in what 
is now the United States was built by Lieutenant Governor Golden 
in 1750 in Orange County, New York, for the purpose of transport- 
ing stone. Other canals were soon built ; but it was not until the 
Erie Canal had been put into successful operation that the great im- 
petus towards building similar works was given to other states. The 
prime motive in building the Erie Canal was to provide New York 
with a better means of communication with the growing West than 
any of the other Atlantic seaboard states then had ; for the trade of 
the vast region beyond the mountains was considered as worth 
strenuous efforts to obtain. Consequently, the work was undertaken 
by the state ; and the money and effort which it cost were well ex- 
pended, for it contributed a large share towards making New York 
the metropolis of the Union. But it is not to be forgotten that the 
success of the Erie Canal and the failure of later projects in other 
states were inevitable from the beginning. The peculiar physical 
features of New York, making it unnecessary to overtop the moun- 
tains to reach the West, gave that state a decided advantage over 
all her competitors (cf. § 55). The second quarter of the nineteenth 
century was the great canal-building era in this country. It was con- 
fidently believed by many that canals were the final stage in the evolu- 
tion of transportation. During the period just mentioned, nearly 4500 
miles of works were built at a cost of about $214,000,000. The state 
governments built a large percentage of the canals which were ex- 
pected to be great financial successes. But the widespread political 
corruption, reckless financing, and an overestimation of the potential 
productivity of the works caused several states to go into bankruptcy 
in 1843. The coming of the railway contributed to shorten the 
period of usefulness of the canals, most of which long ago have been 
abandoned. The Erie is a striking example of a canal which has been 
able to withstand the competition of the railways, although without 
the improvements recently made it was doomed. Until 1866 the 
canal traffic embraced 60 per cent of the freight movements across 
New York state. From that time the figures continued to shrink until 
1895 ; since then they have remained nearly stationary at about 
3,500,000 tons, although the railway traffic has increased enormously. 
Various causes account for this phenomenon ; of these, one of the 
most important is that for very nearly half a century no permanent 


canal improvements of importance had been effected. Both the style 
of the boats and the method of handling their cargoes had changed 
but little since the canal was built ; likewise the size of the channels 
and of the locks had not been increased since 1862. Consequently, 
it seems fair to say that the decline in traffic on the Erie Canal 
has been due, in a large degree, to a failure to improve its physical 
condition to keep pace with the railroads. 

In 19 1 8 the state of New York completed the rebuilding and enlarg- 
ing of the Erie Canal, and now there is a thoroughly up-to-date artificial 
water way connecting the Hudson and the Great Lakes. Steam- 
towed barges drawing 10 feet of water, and with a capacity several 
times that of the largest boats formerly used, can now be readily accom- 
modated. The trip from Buffalo to New York can now be made in 
5 days instead of 10 as formerly. In addition to the rebuilding of the 
main line, the Oswego River from its junction with the Erie Canal to 
Lake Ontario has been canalized, and the Hudson from Troy to Fort 
Edward has been made navigable. Other improvements combined 
with these make the state's canal system cover a total of 532 miles. 

297. Panama Canal. ' The United States government has recently 
finished the building of the Panama Canal. A strip of territory 10 
miles wide, known as the Canal Zone, was purchased from the Repub- 
lic of Panama for the sum of $10,000,000, and through it the canal 
was built (cf. § 327). The French, who had already spent millions 
of dollars in an unsuccessful attempt to carry out a similar enterprise, 
were paid the sum of $40,000,000 for their rights, plant, etc. After 
much deliberation we constructed a canal of the lock type, with a 
summit level of 85 feet above the sea. Apart from the work of sani- 
tation (cf. §§ 150, 151) the two great problems confronting the engi- 
neers were the control of the waters of the Chagres River and the 
piercing of the continental divide. The total cost of the work was 
nearly $400,000,000. The work of construction was in the hands of 
an Isthmian Canal Commission, the chairman of which was also the 
chief engineer. 


298. Introductory. History does not record the name of the person 
who first conceived the idea of lessening friction by constructing a 
track of two parallel strips of wood or iron over which a wheeled ve- 
hicle could be passed. It is known, however, that crude attempts at 
this method of transportation were made in England in the first half 
of the seventeenth century. At about the same time four-wheeled 


wagons took the place of two-wheeled carts. For a century and a half 
the rails were flanged to keep the vehicle from leaving the track. In 
1789 a railway was constructed at Loughborough, England, having 
flat rails, the flanges being cast on the tires. For a long time the 
vehicles used were the ordinary road wagons. The gauge of the early 
railways was, in many cases, the same as the standard to-day, i.e. 
4 feet 8^ inches. The motive power was gravity, horses, or even 
the wind acting upon sails. After the patenting of Watt's steam 
engine in 1769, the idea soon arose of using steam power for pro- 
pulsion. A stationary engine was first used, but in time it gave way 
to the locomotive. It was in 1829 that the superiority of the latter 
was clearly demonstrated, and England claims the honor of this 
triumph. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was about to be 
opened, and the company offered a prize of ^500 for a locomotive 
engine that would run at a speed of at least 10 miles per hour, draw- 
ing three times its own weight. The Rocket, constructed by George 
Stephenson, carried off the honors from two other competitors ; it 
weighed 41 tons and, with a load of 1 2| tons attached, ran at a speed 
of 29 \ miles an hour on a level track. 

299. Beginning of our railway era. This country, being younger 
and less developed economically than England, was considerably be- 
hind the latter in railroad building. As already mentioned (§ 296), 
the fever for canal construction was raging for most of the time dur- 
ing the second quarter of the nineteenth century ; yet various schemes 
for railway building were being advanced and a few short tramways 
had been in operation for several years. The first important railroad 
in the United States was the Baltimore and Ohio, commenced in 
1828 ; and two years later the first division from Baltimore to Elli- 
cott's Mills was opened for general transportation purposes. At first 
horses furnished the motive power, but very soon they were supplanted 
by locomotive engines. The cars were small open carriages resembling 
stagecoaches, but in course of time they were built much longer 
and came to be mounted on trucks. Later, other improvements were 
made which combined to minister to the comfort of the traveler. 

The failure of many of the canals to fulfill the purposes for which 
they were constructed, and the general superiority of railroads over 
canals as a medium of transportation soon made it apparent that the 
former were destined to have a brilliant future ; but it was not until 
after the middle of the century that their growth became rapid. The 
following table shows the number of miles of railway in operation in 
the United States for the years given. 


























2 12,394 




2 17-34' 





300. Railways before 1850. Until the middle of the century the 
railways built were short lines radiating from the most important 
Atlantic seaports. Little regard was paid to connection with other 
lines ; the linking together of local points was the prime motive in 
construction. At first Philadelphia was the most important center ; 
New York had communication with the West by means of the Erie 
Canal (§ 296), which enjoyed a large traffic in both freight and pas- 
sengers ; consequently, the development of railways in that state was 
comparatively slow. From 1840 to 1850 the mileage increased faster 
in New England than elsewhere. 

301. Railway consolidation. After 1850 there began a consolida- 
tion of short lines into systems. 1 This was necessary in order to meet 
the demands for uninterrupted travel and to avoid delays in the trans- 
portation of freight. In 1850 seven distinct companies were operat- 
ing the roads connecting Albany and Buffalo ; the following year 
their consolidation was effected, and later, by the purchase of the 
Hudson River Railroad and others, the New York Central system was 
firmly established. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company ac- 
quired through connections from Philadelphia to Pittsburg in 1852, 
and later, by absorbing 200 or more other companies, there has been 
built up the powerful Pennsylvania system. 

302. Development westward. Between 1850 and i860 several of 
the so-called "trunk " lines were completed. The Erie and the Balti- 
more and Ohio reached Lake Erie and the Ohio River respectively 
in 1 85 1. Two years later one could travel from the Atlantic sea- 
board to Chicago by an all-rail route. Meanwhile, railway building, 
stimulated by federal land grants, state subsidies, and good times, 
continued to be carried on with great activity in the section of the 
country lying north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi. 
But the panic of 1857, quickly followed by the Civil War, caused a 
great reduction in the mileage built. This condition lasted until 

1 Many of the facts here given have been taken from Johnson's American Rail- 
way Transportation. 


1865, but by 1869 the Pacific Ocean had been reached. As early as 
1834 the idea of building a railroad from New York to the Pacific 
was advanced, but the supposed barrenness of the West made the 
scheme appear undesirable. After considerable agitation, however, 
Congress was induced in 1862 to assist in the matter by granting 
liberal subsidies to two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central 
Pacific. The former built westward from the Missouri River, the 
latter eastward from Sacramento, which already was connected with 
San Francisco, and by 1869 the lines met. 

303. Construction since 1880. During the decade ending in 1890 
over 73,000 miles of railway were built. Although all sections of the 
country contributed to this figure, the central and western parts were 
particularly active in adding to their railway mileage. This was due 
to the rapid settlement and general material development in those 
regions ; in many cases the railways preceded settlement and made 
immigration into districts hitherto inaccessible comparatively easy. 
Since 1893 the increase in our mileage has been rather slow. From 
1894 to 1898 inclusive — the five years following the crisis of 1893 
— the annual construction averaged only 1859 miles, or an increase 
of slightly more than 1 per cent. Following the return of prosperity 
in 1898, there was a gradual rise in the construction curve, and now 
rather more than 5000 miles of new track are added per year. 
Traffic on the railways has increased much faster than the mileage ; 
from June 30, 1895, to June 30, 1905, there was a growth in ton- 
mileage of no per cent, although the trackage increased only about 
20 per cent. It is estimated by some authorities that this country 
needs at once 100,000 miles of additional track to serve adequately 
the needs of the shippers. Already our railway mileage is about 
two fifths of that of the whole world and over one tenth greater than 
that of all Europe. 

304. Present railway net. As shown by the table (§ 299), the official 
single-track-railway mileage of the United States in 19 14 was 256,547 
miles. In addition there were 27,609 miles of second, 2696 miles of 
third, and 2071 miles of fourth track, besides 98,285 miles of yard 
tracks and sidings. Consequently, the aggregate railway mileage, in- 
cluding tracks of all kinds, was 387,208 miles. It was owned by over 
2000 corporations. The number of persons on their pay rolls was 
over 1,600,000, and the wages paid was more than $1,200,000,000. 
The par value of the railway capital outstanding on June 30, 191 1, 
was $19,173,000,000; the average capitalization is about $60,000 
per mile. There is no industry in the United States excepting 



agriculture that equals the railways in amount of capital invested or in 
the value of business transacted annually. Moreover, the investments 
in railway property form from one seventh to one fifth of the total 
wealth of the country. 

305. Freight rates. Along with the rapid expansion of our rail- 
ways came marked improvements of all kinds, which not only bettered 
the service but allowed a great reduction in freight and passenger 
rates as well. In 1837 the charge for carrying goods per ton-mile 
varied from 4 to 1 2 or 1 3 cents. Some of the early charters author- 
ized a rate of 10 cents per ton-mile on bulky articles, or of 10 cents 
per cubic foot measurement for a distance of 100 miles. Now the 
average freight rate per ton-mile is .757 cents. The figure varies 
greatly (from .6 cents to 1 . 1 8 cents) in different parts of the country. 
The average revenue per passenger-mile is slightly over 2 cents. 

306. Interstate Commerce Commission. In some countries, such as 
Germany and Belgium, the railways are owned by the government, 
but in the United States they are owned by corporations. Federal 
supervision over interstate business is exercised through the Inter- 
state Commerce Commission, which was created in 1887. At present 
it is composed of nine members, the original number five being raised 
to seven, then to nine. In general, the commission endeavors to 
prevent unjust discrimination in favor of certain shippers and places, 
prescribes maximum rates if, upon complaint, the rate charged is 
shown to be unreasonable or unjust, and supervises the accounting 
of the railways to secure uniformity and to bring clearly before the 
public all the various transactions of the railway companies. 

307. Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are our principal inland 
water way and the scene of the greatest volume of shipping upon any 
large body of inland water in the world. They have a total navigable 
length of 1 4 10 miles. They are connected with the Atlantic Ocean 
by the St. Lawrence River, which is navigable for vessels of 14 feet 
draft from Lake Ontario to Montreal, and from that point to the 
ocean by steamers of much larger size. The approximate elevations 
of the lakes above sea level are as follows : Superior, 600 feet ; 
Michigan and Huron, 580 feet; Erie, 570 feet; Ontario, 245 feet. 
The rapids in the Saint Mary's River connecting Superior and Huron 
are overcome by the Sault Ste. Marie canals — one on the Ameri- 
can, the other on the Canadian side. The growth of traffic through 
these canals has been very rapid. In 19 12 the freight which passed 
through the two canals aggregated 72,000,000 tons. The canal on 
the Canadian side now carries from 50 to 55 per cent of the total 



traffic. The Welland Canal, 14 feet deep and 27 miles long, con- 
nects lakes Erie and Ontario. The rivers flowing into the Great 
1 akes are short and of little commercial value except for the harbors 
at their mouths. 

The size and character of our merchant fleet on the Great Lakes 
becomes apparent by an examination of its statistics. On June 30, 
1916, the gross tonnage was 2,760,8 15, 1 or just about one third of 
our total merchant marine. About six sevenths of this consists of 
steam vessels, while numerous so-called sailing crafts are usually towed, 
the sails being used largely to facilitate steering. While the average 
size of the steamers is approximately 1000 tons, those constructed 
during recent years are as large as some ocean liners. For example, 
in 1907 there were 36 steel steamers of 1000 or more gross tons, 
built for the trade of the Great Lakes, and their average size was 6049 
tons. In the same year was built the largest vessel that had sailed 
on the Lakes, Lc Grand S. De Graff, 605 feet long, 60 feet beam, 
and of 7971 gross tons; twenty years ago the largest transatlantic 
liner, the Servia, had a tonnage of but 7392. 

The enormous traffic on the Great Lakes, which calls into service 
this large, well-equipped fleet, is better understood by a consideration 
of the natural wealth and of the manufactures of the territory which 
it serves. Lakes Superior and Michigan are near great resources of 
iron ore, copper, cereals, and lumber, while the anthracite and other 
eastern coal fields are near enough to Lake Erie to make it profitable 
to send shipments westward by water. Ninety per cent of the lake 
traffic is confined to four articles — iron ore, grain and flour, lumber, 
and coal. The first-mentioned commodity forms about one half of the 
total yearly tonnage ; moreover, the six following ports, viz., Duluth, 
Two Harbors, Superior, Ashland, Escanaba, and Marquette, handle 
most of the ore ; in fact, one half or more is loaded at the first two 
ports. Ninety per cent of the ore has for its destination a series of 
ports on Lake Erie, of which Ashtabula, Cleveland, and Conneaut are 
the leading ones. The only important receiving point not on Lake Erie 

1 The increase in the tonnage of the fleet on the Great Lakes has been steady and 
rapid as shown by the following figures : 














2,234,43 2 


is Chicago. Wheat goes east mainly from Duluth, Superior, Chicago, 
Milwaukee, and Toledo, and is received mainly at Buffalo, although 
Erie and Ogdensburg take large shipments. Lumber is sent from 
many ports, Duluth being the principal one, and Chicago is the great 
receiving point. Buffalo is the leading shipping point for anthracite 
coal, although Erie is important ; this commodity is distributed to 
many cities along the shores of lakes Michigan and Superior. 
Soft coal goes west from many places along Lake Erie, and is 
laid down at receiving points, principally Milwaukee, Superior, and 
Duluth, along the two western lakes. Chicago gets most of its 
soft coal by rail. 

The organization of the transportation service on the Great Lakes 
has been so perfected that the average freight charge per ton-mile is 
slightly less than one tenth that of the average railroad rate for the 
whole country (cf. § 305). The saving in transportation charges in 
shipping by water is enormous : iron ore from the Lake Superior 
region is taken to the smelting works of the East for approximately 
60 cents per ton ; while a few years ago the charge for a similar 
service was $3. Freight shipments on the lakes generally are over 
long distances ; nearly all the steamship lines operate on two or 
more lakes. The eastbound tonnage is about five times that of the 

308. Inland water ways other than the Great Lakes. This country 
was bountifully endowed by nature with inland water ways. Not only 
do they surpass those of every other country in extent, but their geo- 
graphical distribution is such that their utilization for commercial 
purposes is made easy. The Mississippi and its tributaries alone 
furnish 16,000 miles of water way. In all there are 25,000 miles of 
navigated rivers and an equal additional mileage that can be made 
navigable. Besides, there are about 2000 miles of canals in operation. 
The sounds, bays, etc., that are capable of being converted into a con- 
tinuous inner route for coastwise traffic along the Atlantic and Gulf, 
by connecting them up with something less than 1000 miles of 
canals, are approximately 2500 miles in extent. If there be added to 
the above the 14 10 miles of transportation route furnished by the Great 
Lakes, it is seen that all of the present and prospective water ways of 
the country have a combined length of over 55,000 miles. At the 
present day only about one half of the entire mileage is used for 

In spite of the ever-increasing demands made upon the railways 
for handling freight, the river traffic has actually declined during 


recent years ; the tonnage moved on the Mississippi and its tribu- 
taries was less in 1906 than in 1889. With the decline of traffic 
there has been a falling off in the character of the service. Recent 
investigations have shown that railway competition has been respon- 
sible, to a large degree, for driving commerce from our inland water 
ways ; yet, in years of good crops, the railways cannot adequately 
handle the traffic. A graphic description of the present transportation 
situation has recently been given by a writer who says we are " trying 
to force a three-inch stream of commerce through a two-inch pipe of 
railways." It is this condition of affairs which has called forth a wide- 
spread demand for the improvement and extension of the river systems 
to supplement the railways. In view of the rapid expansion of the 
country's industries, so serious is the transportation question becoming 
that it may be justly regarded as one of the greatest national problems. 
The movement has resulted in the formation of numerous water-ways 
associations, some with local, others with national, aims. 

309. Water-ways associations. Some of the more important of these are: The 
Western Water-ways Association, which aims to unite all streams in the Mississippi 
valley ; The Interstate Mississippi River Association, which is concerned with the 
levees of the Mississippi from Cairo to the Gulf; The Ohio Valley Improvement 
Association, whose object is to secure the deepening of the Ohio River to nine feet 
from Pittsburg to Cairo ; The Upper Mississippi River Improvement Association, 
concerned with securing good navigation from St. Louis to St. Paul ; The Lakes-to- 
the-( iulf Deep Water-way Association, which advocates connecting Lake Michigan 
with the Gulf of Mexico by a channel 14 feet deep ; The Interstate Inland Water- 
way Association, which desires to have the Mississippi and the Rio Grande joined 
by a nine-foot channel connecting up the water ways along the coasts of Texas 
and Louisiana ; and The Atlantic Deeper Water-ways Association, agitating for a 
through inland route for naval and merchant vessels from Boston to Jacksonville, 
Florida. Perhaps a more comprehensive organization than any of the above is the 
National Rivers and Harbors Congress formed in 190 1. It is truly a national 
body both with reference to membership and programme ; it proposes the improve- 
ment of no particular stream, but it endeavors to organize all friends of water ways 
in a movement designed to induce Congress to adopt a policy that will bring about 
eventually the improvement of every important water way throughout the length 
and breadth of the country. To this end it desires an annual appropriation of 
% 50.000.000. 

310. Inland Water-ways Commission. An interesting develop- 
ment has been the appointment by the President of the United States, 
in March, 1907, of an Inland Water-ways Commission designed to 
bring together in one body experts in all problems relating to water 
vvays. The report transmitted to Congress in February, 1908, con- 
tained the following among other recommendations : 


" That hereafter plans for the improvement of navigation in inland waterways, 
or for any use of these waterways in connection with interstate commerce, shall 
take account of the purification of the waters, the development of power, the 
control of floods, the reclamation of lands by irrigation and drainage, and all other 
uses of the waters or benefits to be derived from this control. 

" That any plans for improving the inland waterways shall take account of the 
present and prospective relation of rail lines to such waterways, and shall ascertain, 
as far as may be, whether such waterways when improved will be effectively used 
in the face of railway competition ; and that the relation between railways and 
waterways be further examined with the purpose of devising means of rendering 
the two systems complementary and harmonious and making such fair division of 
traffic that rates and management may be coordinated economically and with benefit 
to the country." 

311. Merchant marine in general. Our navigation laws require 
that a vessel must be measured and inspected by an official of the 
Bureau of Navigation in the Department of Commerce and Labor 
before it may be put into service. " Registered " vessels are those 
engaged in foreign trade ; " enrolled " vessels are those employed 
either on our inland waters or in coastwise traffic. If the craft is of 
less than 20 tons' measurement it is " licensed." All vessels flying 
the American flag are required to be built in this country ; 1 in other 
words, we do not have " free ships," as is the case in England. 2 

The United States stands second among the countries of the world 
in tonnage of merchant marines. On June 30, 19 16, the figure 
stood at 8,469,649 tons 3 distributed as follows : 

Service Tonnage 

Foreign trade 2,185,008 

Coasting trade 6,244,550 

Cod and mackerel fisheries 33*384 

Whale fisheries 6,707 

Total 8,469,649 

Sailing vessels, including canal boats and barges, number 10,383 ; 
steam vessels, 16,061. The tonnage of the latter more than doubles 
that of the former, the actual figures being 2,399,586 and 6,070,063. 
Almost half of the tonnage (4,443,024) 4 is owned on the Atlantic and 
Gulf coasts, and just about one third of the whole (2,760,815) is 
owned on the Great Lakes ; 1 , 1 3 1,058 tons 5 are owned on the Pacific 
coast, and the balance, 134,752 tons, on the western rivers. 

312. Merchant marine in the foreign carrying trade. Our mer- 
chant marine engaged in the foreign carrying trade is, at present, 

1 There are minor exceptions to this rule. * This figure includes Puerto Rico. 

2 In 191 2 a "free ship" law was passed by Congress. 

3 Includes Hawaiian and Puerto Rican vessels. 6 This figure includes Hawaii. 


comparatively small. We are almost entirely dependent upon other 
countries, some of which are our commercial rivals, as carriers for our 
exports and imports. During the past 10 years the proportion of the 
foreign trade carried in American vessels has averaged not above 10 
per cent a year. The present tonnage is actually less than it was in 
1 8 10, when the total foreign commerce was only $152,000,000, or 
one twentieth of what it is to-day. The fleet engaged in the foreign 
carrying trade was larger in 1861 than in any year before or since, 
the figure being 2,496,894 tons. The causes usually assigned for the 
decline after the Civil War are : a change of policy regarding ship 
subsidies, by which the ocean mail law of 1845 was made ineffective 
(this was due to the merchant-marine question becoming an issue 
in sectional strife) ; internal-revenue taxation and high tariffs, which 
burdened the shipyards ; and the extraordinary development of 
industry and the opening up of the West that came soon after the 
Civil War. It should be stated in passing that such causes are far 
from satisfactory in explaining the phenomenon, but the question is 
too involved and requires too lengthy a discussion to be entered upon 
in this place. 

313. The coastwise fleet. The coastwise fleet presents an entirely 
different picture, for only American vessels may engage in this trade. 
This provision was made by a law of 18 17, although, since 1789, but 
few foreign vessels have ever been engaged in coastwise traffic. This 
was due to the protection given to Americans by an act of Congress 
of July 20, 1789, which provided that, upon entering an American 
port, the tonnage duty payable by an American-built and -owned ship 
should be 6 cents per ton, while 30 cents per ton was required to be 
paid by American-built and foreign-owned boats, and 50 cents per 
ton by ships both built and owned abroad. Moreover, American ves- 
sels engaged in the coastwise service were required to pay this tax 
but once a year, while foreigners must pay it at every entry. This 
law practically closed our coastwise traffic to foreign vessels, although, 
as mentioned above, legislation to this effect was not passed until 
18 1 7. The latter law has stood from that day until this ; consequently, 
the growth of the coastwise fleet has been automatic, since, unless 
trade is to be considerably hampered, the coastwise fleet must increase 
to keep pace with the economic expansion of the country. 

314. Coasting laws of the United States. The coasting laws of 
the United States apply to the Great Lakes and inland rivers as well. 
Foreign vessels are not permitted to trade above New Orleans. Fur- 
thermore, the act of Congress made effective on June 14, 1900, in 


providing a government for Hawaii, while it admitted Hawaiian ves- 
sels to American registry, at the same time extended the coasting 
laws of the United States to Hawaii, thus restricting the trade between 
these islands and the United States to American vessels. Similarly, 
when a civil government was provided for Puerto Rico by act of April 
12, 1900, the same regulation of trade was established as in the 
case of Hawaii. With reference to the trade of the Philippines, it is, 
at present, on the same basis as regards shipping as is the trade 
between the United States and foreign countries. But a law of April 
30, 1906, provided that after April 1 1, 1909, no merchandise should 
be carried between the United States and the Philippines except 
in American vessels, and that foreign vessels should not transport 
passengers between the two countries either directly or by way of a 
foreign port under a penalty of $200 per passenger. This law was 
repealed, however, by an act of April 29, 1908. 1 

1 The tonnage of our merchant marine in both the coastwise and foreign trade for 
successive decades is shown in the Appendix, Table XVIII. 



315. Introductory. The study of man in his most primitive 
relations, where his life conditions are but little removed from the 
plane of the brute's, shows that his wants are few and that these are 
supplied largely from the immediate environment. In the progress 
upwards towards civilization man's wants become diversified, but nat- 
ural riches are unevenly distributed over and within the surface of 
the earth ; consequently, larger areas come to be called upon in the 
satisfaction of the new desires. In this and in other ways already 
considered (cf. §§ 181-182, 193-194) commerce arises. Whether 
it be under primitive or modern conditions, those things which are 
desired but which are not produced at home must be obtained 
elsewhere, and it is commerce which accomplishes the redistribution 
of the products of the earth. When we come to a consideration of 
modern commerce, it may be wondered why countries continue to 
import vast quantities of raw products which are adapted to their own 
soil and climatic conditions ; or why millions of dollars continue to be 
paid out annually for manufactures which apparently could be pro- 
duced at home. It would involve a long and intricate discussion to 
enter into an explanation of these phenomena which would be at all 
satisfactory ; for, under the complicated conditions of modern pro- 
duction and distribution, a variety of factors whose influences are 
difficult to trace would have to be considered. One of the best expla- 
nations, however, is found in the economic doctrine of comparative 
costs. Nations differ greatly in many respects, which give them com- 
parative advantages or disadvantages in the matter of production. 

Adam Smith shrewdly perceived that the causes of the advantages 
one country has over another are not all of the same kind ; but he 
pointed out with truth that, given the advantages, they determine 
the course of trade." 1 Among the factors to be reckoned with here 
are geographical differences, personal aptitudes, differences in skill, 
knowledge of the arts, mechanical training, etc. 

1 Taussig, The Tariff History of the United States, pp. 407-408. 



A convenient classification of commerce distinguishes domestic or 
internal trade from foreign trade. Under the former as applied to 
the United States are included intra- and inter-state trade ; besides, 
commodities brought into this country from Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto 
Rico, as well as shipments thereto from the United States, are con- 
sidered as movements in domestic trade ; that is to say, the posses- 
sions named are customs districts of the United States. On the other 
hand, goods imported into and exported from these non-contiguous 
territories in their trade with foreign countries are reckoned as a part 
of the foreign trade of the United States. In general, foreign com- 
merce refers to the exports to and imports from abroad, but trade 
between this country and the Philippines is included in the figures 
for foreign commerce. 

It is of course impossible to secure complete and accurate statistics 
of the world's commerce. It is estimated that international trade alone 
now exceeds $35,000,000,000 annually. It is evident that both it and 
the domestic commerce of individual countries are increasing rapidly 
both in volume and value. This is due not only to the increase of pop- 
ulation but also to the advancement of the standard of living in most 
countries, which increases the per capita consumption. Moreover, the 
development of transportation facilities, reduction in freight rates, 
better organization of trade and industry, and large scale production 
have combined to reduce the cost of commodities and to widen the 
market for many articles formerly beyond the reach of the masses. 
Not only has the volume of domestic commerce been swelled in this 
way, but that of foreign trade as well. 

316. Domestic trade. The domestic trade of the United States far 
surpasses the foreign trade in volume and importance ; it is estimated 
that the former has an annual value of $40,000,000,000, or more 
than nine times the value of the latter. Or, to add another com- 
parison, it is to-day greater than the world's international commerce. 
Our domestic trade assumes such large proportions owing to the 
high standard of living, the extent of settled territory, the abundance 
and diversity of natural resources, the good quality of many of the 
manufactures, and our comparative independence of the rest of the 
world for all materials of commerce excepting luxuries and certain 
high-grade manufactures. This is why the average expenditure of 
our people for domestic goods is many times that for foreign com- 

317. Foreign commerce in general. The development of foreign 
commerce during the past century has been enormous. In 1800 the 



combined exports and imports of the whole world were less, by $ioo,- 
000,000, than the exports of the United States in 1905. From 1800 
to 1850 the increase was 166 per cent; from 1850 to 1905 it in- 
creased 562 per cent. Some of the causes for this great expansion 
have been pointed out in the foregoing discussion (§ 315) 

The foreign trade of the world by continents and the share of 
the United States therein is shown by the table in the Appendix. 1 
From this it appears that Europe is the great center of both the 
export and the import trade, commanding nearly two thirds of the 
whole. About 10.5 per cent is in the hands of the United States; 
so that Asia, Africa, Oceania, South America, and North America 
(excluding the United States) together have about one fourth of the 
world's trade (cf. §§ 174, 175, 193, 198). Roughly speaking, Europe 
depends upon the rest of the world, to a large degree, for food and 
raw materials, while her dense population engages in industry to create 
the purchasing power for the large importations. During the past 
quarter of a century or more the foreign trade of the United States 
has grown to enormous proportions. Even as late as 1870 its value 
was only $829,000,000, of which the imports were more than half. 
For the calendar year 1906 the value of the foreign trade passed 
for the first time the $3,000,000,000 mark. For the fiscal year 
which ended June 30, 191 3, it was valued at $4,279,000,000, of 
which the exports alone amounted to $2,466,000,000 — over six 
times their value in 1870. 

The rapid strides which this country has taken in developing 
foreign commerce place her among the three leading commercial 
nations. The following figures taken from " Daily Consular and 
Trade Reports " bring out some interesting relations regarding the 
trade of the rival countries in 1906. 


United Kingdom 


United States 

Foreign trade 

Imports for home consumption . 
Exports of domestic produce . . 




Total trade 




Kstimated population on June 30 . 




Foreign trade per capita 
Imports for consumption . . . 
Exports of domestic produce 




Total trade per capita . . . 




iSee Table XIX. 


318. Imports. Our imports of merchandise in the fiscal year 
ending June 30, 191 3, were valued at $1,813,000,000. Of this 
amount crude materials for use in manufacturing constituted 34.93 
per cent; manufactures ready for consumption, 22.65 per cent; 
manufactures for further use in manufacturing, 19.24 per cent; 
foodstuffs partly or wholly prepared, 1074 per cent; foodstuffs in 
crude condition, and food animals, 1 1 .66 per cent ; and miscellaneous 
goods, .78 per cent. It may be said that these figures are typical of 
the returns for the past few years. The tendency, however, is to 
import relatively less foodstuffs and manufactures ready for con- 
sumption, and to increase the importations of semi-manufactured 
goods and of crude materials for manufactures. Some of our most 
important imports are sugar, hides and skins, coffee, drugs, chemi- 
cals, dyes, raw silk, vegetable fibers, rubber, and fruits. One third 
or more of all the imports are from tropical or semi-tropical coun- 
tries (cf. §§ 175-180, 197-198). 

319. Exports. Not only has the export trade grown at a rapid 
pace during the past few years, but its character has changed as well. 
To the latter point attention will shortly be given. At the present 
time 1 crude materials for use in manufacturing are 30. 1 per cent of 
the total value of the exports. Manufactures, including those ready 
for consumption and those for further use in manufacturing, form 
48.88 per cent, their respective figures being 32.04 and 16.84 per 
cent. Foodstuffs, partly or wholly prepared, constitute 13.19 per cent, 
and those in the raw state, including food animals, 7.48 per cent, 
leaving only .35 per cent for miscellaneous commodities. 

Agricultural products have always constituted a very large percent- 
age of the export trade of the United States, although they are rela- 
tively on the decrease. Their value at five-year periods from 1880 
to 1905 inclusive constituted the following percentages of the total 
exports: 83, 73, 75, 70, 61, and 55. On the other hand, manu- 
factured and semi-manufactured goods are on the increase ; during 
the periods just mentioned above their values were the following 
percentages of the whole value of the exports: 12, 20, 18, 23, 32, 
and 36. At the present day about 48 per cent of our exports are 
manufactures, and the time is rapidly approaching when the figure 
will be 50 per cent or more. 

320. Movements for expansion of export trade. The change in 
character which the export trade has undergone in comparatively 
recent years has called forth a conscious movement for its expansion. 

1 Figures are for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913- 


So long as agricultural and other raw products formed the greater 
bulk of the foreign shipments, the trade could, in a large degree, look 
after itself, for foreign countries stood in need of such commodities, 
and a ready market was generally available ; but when a large per- 
centage of manufactured goods is found in our foreign shipments, 
the problem of selling these goods in competition with such advanced 
nations as Great Britain and Germany becomes a difficult one to 
handle. These countries have been exploiting foreign markets for 
years, and their export trade is skillfully organized. To cope success- 
fully with the problem of expanding foreign commerce, several move- 
ments are already in progress. Among these are the reform of the 
consular service, organized efforts by chambers of commerce and 
boards of trade, and the formation of the Chamber of Commerce 
of the United States of America. 1 The latter came into existence at 
a national commercial conference, called by the president of the 
United States at Washington, D.C., in 191 2. It was designed to 
form a connecting link between the federal government and the 
business interests of this country. Of course, the promotion of 
foreign commerce is only one of several lines of interest of the 
Federal Chamber of Commerce, but there are indications that the 
development of foreign trading interests will be an important feature 
of its work. A similar purpose was accomplished in Germany by an 
Imperial Consultative Board, created in 1898 (cf. § 399). 

1 See an article on " The Promotion of Foreign Commerce," by Avard L. Bishop, 
in the Atlantic Monthly for May, 191 4. 



The non-contiguous territory of the United States consists of 
Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Tutuila, and 
the Panama Canal Zone. Their areas total 716,555 square miles 
and their population is nearly 10,000,000. 

321. Alaska. Area, 590,884 square miles; population, 64,000 
(in 19 10). This vast territory equals the combined area of New 
England, the North Atlantic States, and of the Carolinas, Georgia, 
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. From Seattle to the 
nearest point in Alaska the distance is less than from New York to 
Cincinnati ; from Seattle to the most remote point the distance is 
about the same as from New York to San Francisco. 

The country was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000. 
The United States became interested in Alaska about the time of 
the discovery of gold in California, when an important trade in fish, 
lumber, and ice between San Francisco and Alaska was developed. 
Commercial companies were formed to handle the trade, and a partial 
knowledge of the resources of the country was acquired. This was 
one of the reasons why Secretary Seward, in spite of much opposi- 
tion and some ridicule, favorably considered the purchase of Alaska 
when such a proposition was made by the Russian ambassador at 
Washington in 1864. 

It is erroneously believed by many that the whole country is a 
frozen desolate waste, entirely unsuitable for agricultural purposes. 
This is of course true of large areas, but as a matter of fact one can 
travel from one end of the Yukon to the other in summer not only 
without encountering snow, but amidst a variety of luxuriant vegeta- 
tion consisting of forest trees, flowering plants, and other flora such 
as wild raspberries, currants, and cranberries. Such products as wheat, 
oats, barley, potatoes, turnips, and small fruits are so well matured at 
the experiment stations at Sitka, Rampart, etc., that they compare 
favorably with similar products grown in the United States. It seems 
fair to say that, in the southern and southwestern parts of the coun- 
try, where the climate is tempered by the currents and winds of the 
Pacific (cf. § 19), agriculture is comparatively easy. 



The sources of Alaskan wealth at the present time are furs, fish 
(cf. § 248), and ores. Besides these, the supplies of timber are im- 
portant, especially in the southeast where dense forests of spruce, 
hemlock, Sitka cedar, and red cedar occur. As to minerals, copper, 
coal, and gold are found in abundance. 

The back country is by nature most inaccessible ; the region is 
so rugged for 100 miles or more from the Pacific coast that "it is 
almost as cheap to build a railroad as to build a wagon road." The 
rivers, of which the principal is the Yukon, empty into seas closed 
by ice for seven months of the year. The country is being pierced 
with railroads running inland from the ice-free harbors on the Pacific ; 
and there are three or four passes over which roads can be constructed 
leading to the mines and the fertile plains. 

The trade of Alaska is almost entirely with the United States. In 
1912 the value of merchandise brought into Alaska was $19,981,- 
000, and of this amount over sixteen seventeenths came from the 
United States. The exports of the country were valued at $22,788,- 
000, and over eight ninths of them went to the United States. The 
principal items were canned salmon, copper ore, and furs. Gold 
shipments were made to the value of $17,491,000. 

322. Hawaiian Islands. Area, 6449 square miles; population, 
192,000 (in 19 10). These islands, of which there are eight prin- 
cipal ones, are in the torrid zone and are at the ' ' crossroads of the 
Pacific " (cf. § 191). They came under the flag of the United States 
in 1898. They are in a direct line between Panama and Japan, and 
are in the path of the trade routes between San Francisco and the 
Philippines, and between Sydney and Seattle. Several lines of 
steamers plying between the Occident and the Orient call at Hawaii ; 
thus with the development of transpacific trade, this group of islands 
must grow in strategic and commercial importance. Lying in the 
belt of the northeast trade winds, they have a salubrious and equable 
climate. The soil is of volcanic origin and is very fertile ; cultivation 
of the sugar cane (§ 405) is the principal industry, and about 200,000 
acres are devoted to this crop. The islands are scarcely surpassed by 
any region in the world in the employment of improved methods in 
sugar culture and in the yield of cane per acre. Steam plows are used 
in preparing the land for the crops ; private steam railways take the 
cane from the plantations to mills which are equipped with all mod- 
ern devices. Some of the mills have cost over $1,000,000. A great 
drawback to the further development of the sugar industry is the 
lack of labor to cultivate the cane (cf. §§ 175 ff.). Efforts are being 


made to develop other industries so as to insure a more permanent 
commercial prosperity. The sale of fruits such as pineapples, ba- 
nanas, alligator pears, and mangoes is increasing ; coffee, tobacco, 
sisal, and rubber can be produced with profit. 

The over-sea trade is largely with the United States and totals 
less than $75,000,000 annually. Merchandise to the value of nearly 
$45,000,000 is sold yearly, about 90 per cent of which is sugar and 
comes to this country. Shipments are made to San Francisco where 
much of the sugar is refined, though some is sent overland to the 
New York refineries. It is cheaper, however, to send the raw com- 
modity around Cape Horn to New York, so that much of the sugar 
goes by this route, although it takes from two to four months to 
make the trip (cf. § 189). 

323. The Philippine Islands. Area, 115,026 square miles; popu- 
lation, 8,600,000 (estimate). There are about 2000 islands in this 
group, which extends roughly from Formosa to Borneo. Luzon and 
Mindanao are the largest, the former nearly matching New York 
state in size ; the whole group is equal in area to the New England 
States, plus New York and New Jersey. These islands were under 
Spanish rule from about 1580 until 1898. Being situated between 
the 4th and 21st parallels of north latitude, the climate is tropical. 
The soil is of volcanic origin and is fertile. In general, the islands 
present a rugged appearance, mountains and valleys alternating, the 
latter being well watered. 

The Philippines are capable of producing large quantities of prod- 
ucts such as sugar, coffee, tea, cacao, rubber, fibers, tobacco, and fruits, 
that is, those commodities which, at the present time, figure exten- 
sively in our import trade. Consequently, this group of islands and 
the United States are natural trading areas (cf. § 197). But the lack 
of internal transportation facilities has hitherto been a serious obstacle 
to economic development. Several hundreds of miles of improved 
roads have been built since 1898 ; about 200 miles of railway have 
been constructed on the island of Luzon, extending northward from 
Manila to Dagupan, and concessions have been granted for the 
construction of several hundreds of miles more. 

The products are mostly agricultural ; rice is the leading crop, and 
the system of culture is extremely primitive. At present the most 
important product for export is Manila (§ 223), which ranks high 
among the hard fibers of the world for manufacturing purposes ; the 
fiber is from 6 to 1 2 feet in length, and the best grade is of a light 
buff color. It is of special value for ships' cables and other marine 


cordage, since, besides being strong and flexible, it does not rot easily 
when exposed to salt water. The output has increased rapidly in 
recent years, and at present this commodity forms about two thirds 
of the total value of the merchandise exported. Sisal (§ 409), now 
grown almost exclusively in Mexico, promises to become an important 
product in the Philippines. 

Sugar ranks next to hemp among the products of the Philippines, 
although copra (the dried kernel of the cocoanut), in some years, 
stands second in the list of exports. Tobacco, introduced by Spanish 
missionaries in the latter part of the sixteenth century, comes next in 
importance ; it is grown most extensively in the northern part of 
Luzon. Comparatively little is exported, as the home consumption is 
large. Previous to 1890 coffee was a relatively important source of 
wealth, but since that date the devastation of the plantations by 
insects and plant disease has caused a rapid diminution in the quan- 
tity produced ; the quality is said to be especially good, comparing 
favorably with that of Java. 

According to the Philippine census, 70 per cent of the area of the 
archipelago is covered with forests. Woods suitable for cabinet work, 
veneering purposes, and ship and house building are found in great 
profusion ; the same is true of gum-producing trees. The mineral 
resources have never been exploited, although deposits of gold, 
copper, coal, and iron are known to exist. 

The foreign carrying trade is largely in the hands of the British, 
who handle about 60 and 7 5 per cent respectively of the imports and 
exports. Next in order are Spain, Germany, and the United States ; 
the latter carries about 9 per cent of the imports and a smaller pro- 
portion of the exports. 

The foreign commerce of the Philippines is small. Crude methods 
of production, lack of transportation facilities, and scarcity of capital 
account in part for present conditions. Although the area of the group 
is eighteen times that of the Hawaiian Islands, and the population 
forty times as large, the exports of the Philippines are in an average 
year less in value than those of the Hawaiian Islands. About $40,- 
000,000 is their average value, and the United States takes less than 
one half. The United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Germany also 
are important purchasers. The principal imports are rice, flour, dress 
goods, wines, coal, and petroleum ; their combined value nearly equals 
that of the exports, and the commodities come from many lands. 
The largest purchases are made from the United States, and in an 
average year this country supplies nearly 40 per cent of the total. 


Australasia is coming to the front rapidly in the import trade, espe- 
cially in the flour and coal business. 

324. Puerto Rico. Area, 3435 square miles ; population, 1,1 18,000 
(in 19 10). Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States by Spain in 
1898. It is the most easterly of the four large Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, 
Puerto Rico, and Jamaica), being 450 miles east of Cuba. The 18th 
parallel of north latitude runs along its southern coast. Its greatest 
length is 112 miles ; its average width 36 miles. It is somewhat less 
than three times the size of Rhode Island. The density of popula- 
tion is about 3 1 8 to the square mile, which is greater than that of any 
state of the United States excepting Massachusetts (419), New Jersey 
(338), and Rhode Island (508). Most of the people are farmers. The 
conditions under which the great mass of the people live account for 
the possibility of so dense a population on the agricultural stage. 
No fuel is needed for any purpose except cooking, and this can 
be gathered easily ; the house is a mere framework of poles covered 
with palm leaves or grass ; clothing is both scanty and made of the 
cheapest material ; the diet is largely vegetable, consisting of rice, 
bananas, vegetables, etc., with little or no meat (cf. §§ 147, 175-179, 
197). A range of mountains, the highest point on which is 3790 
feet, runs due east and west, i.e. lengthwise of the island, at a 
distance of about 12 miles from the south shore. Much of the soil 
is a red clay, extremely tough and sticky. These qualities account 
for the fact that the steep deforested mountain slopes have not been 
deprived of their soil. Despite their disadvantages, these declivities 
are cultivated ; in some cases the best crops' of coffee and tobacco 
are raised on slopes so abrupt that cultivation, even with a hoe, is 
possible only by grasping a tree with the left hand. Puerto Rico is 
free from great extremes in temperature. The highest temperature 
recorded is 100.8 F. and the lowest 56. i° F. An important climatic 
factor is the constant trade wind, which brings abundant rainfall and 
affords a constant supply of cool air. 

Towards the close of the last century coffee was the principal 
product. Over 40 per cent of all the cultivated land was devoted to 
this crop. Within recent years sugar has been leading, although the 
two industries do not compete with each other. The two productive 
areas do not overlap, for coffee grows best in the highlands and 
sugar in the lowlands. The decline in coffee production was due to 
a combination of causes, chief among which were overproduction, 
partial loss of the Spanish and French markets on account of the 
imposition of high duties, the change in the monetary standard, 


and a violent hurricane in August, 1899, which destroyed two thirds 
of the coffee crop. As the coffee tree takes about five years in matur- 
ing so as to bear fruit, it can be seen that the last cause mentioned 
must have had serious results. 

The increase in sugar production since Puerto Rico was taken over 
by the United States has been due, in a large degree, to the fact that 
the sugar was admitted free of duty. Enterprising Americans have 
recently bought lands along the coasts and turned them into sugar 
plantations, and this has contributed greatly towards increasing the 
crop. Besides, old processes of manufacture have been supplanted by 
more modern ones, so that a larger percentage of sugar is obtained 
from the cane. The production of tobacco is increasing rapidly, 
especially in the valleys of the interior where the crop is grown under 
cheesecloth ; the best quality is raised on soils which are not in 
demand for other crops. Thus it is seen that there is little, if any, 
competition among the three leading crops of the island. 

The foreign trade of Puerto Rico has undergone great changes 
since the island came under the flag of the United States. In 1895 
the latter controlled only 21 per cent of the combined export and 
import trade of Puerto Rico, whereas in 191 2 the figure was 85 per 
cent. The annual value of the imports and exports of merchandise 
totals over $90,000,000, there being a slight balance in favor of the 
latter. Sugar now forms 63 per cent, coffee 14 per cent, and tobacco 
4 per cent of the value of the exports. The leading imports are rice, 
cotton cloth, machinery, and fish. 

325. Guam. Area, 210 square miles; population, 12,517 (in 1912). 
This is the largest island of the Ladrones group, and was acquired 
from Spain in 1898. It is said to be thickly wooded and fertile. Cul- 
tivation is done in the most primitive manner ; plows are unknown, 
the hoe being the only farming implement used. Tropical fruits are 
abundant ; copra is the principal export, and the trade is largely with 
other countries than the United States. The island is used as a coal- 
ing and cable station. 

326. Tutuila group. Area, 77 square miles ; population, 4000 (esti- 
mate). Tutuila, one of the Samoa Islands, has an excellent harbor 
called Pago-Pago. As yet it is of little commercial importance, but 
it is used as a coaling station, and in time may be an important port 
of call for transpacific steamers. Its principal export is copra. 

327. Panama Canal Zone. This territory was acquired by treaty 
from the Republic of Panama in 1904, for the purpose of facili- 
tating the construction of the Panama Canal (§297). It extends 



5 miles on each side of the center of the canal, although the cities 
of Colon and Panama and their adjacent harbors were not included 
in the grant. In accordance with the terms of the treaty mentioned, 
the Panama Canal Zone technically includes not only this territory, 
but it also reaches out from the land to a distance of three marine 
miles from mean low-water mark in the Caribbean Sea and in the 
Pacific Ocean as well. Furthermore, there was granted to the United 
States in perpetuity "all islands within the limits of the zone . . . and 
. . . the group of small islands in the Bay of Panama, named Perico, 
Naos, Culebra, and Flamenco." The department of civil administra- 
tion of the Isthmian Canal Commission is charged with the duty of 
administering the civil government within the zone. 




328. The Empire in general. The British Empire embraces about 
one fifth of the land area of the globe, or over 11,000,000 square 
miles. Its population is over 400,000,000, or over one fourth that of 
the world. It consists of the United Kingdom and a great number 
of colonies and dependencies in all parts of the world. The leading 
divisions of the Empire with their approximate areas and populations 
are as follows : 


British Isles 

Dominion of Canada 


New Zealand 

British India (including Native States) 

British South Africa 

West African colonies 

Other African possessions .... 

British Guiana 



West Indies and Bermudas .... 

Area in Square 












3 1 5,000,000 











1 63,000 


I 2,000 




In addition to these there should be mentioned various strategic 
possessions and others of more or less importance such as Gibraltar, 
the islands of Malta and Goza, the Straits Settlements, Hongkong, 
Aden, Socotra, Cyprus, Mauritius, the Falkland Islands, South 
Georgia, British Honduras, a part of New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, 
etc. Egypt and the Egyptian Sudan also are, to all intents and pur- 
poses, under British control. The mother country is very small as 
compared with some parts of the Empire. It is about one thirtieth the 
size of Canada, one twenty-fifth that of Australia, and one eleventh 
that of India. 

35 1 


A glance at the map x will show that the various parts of the Em- 
pire are divided by the oceans. Time was when this constituted a 
serious drawback for purposes of administration and commerce. But 
the great advances made in developing ocean transportation, postal, 
telegraph, and cable systems during the past hundred years have 
tended to overcome these difficulties. Great Britain controls but a 
small proportion of the trade of some of her possessions, i.e. the 
Empire does not form an economic unit ; in these days trade is more 
likely to follow the price list than the flag. Moreover, the mother 
country and many of the territories which she controls are not natural 
trading areas (cf. § 197). However, a movement has been in progress 
to consolidate the Empire along the lines of trade by a system of pref- 
erential tariffs. This is a part of the so-called "Chamberlain scheme." 

329. The British Isles. Introductory. This group of islands, rep- 
resenting the mother country of the Empire, is situated at the gateway 
to Europe between the parallels of 50 and 6o° north latitude. They 
are in a much higher latitude than is often supposed, receiving the 
same amount of heat from the sun as southern Siberia and Labrador. 
If the climate were not tempered by certain modifying influences 
(cf . § 130), it would be unfavorable for the extensive production and 
commerce which have characterized these islands for centuries. Their 
insular position prevents great extremes and sudden changes of tem- 
perature, while an abundance of moisture is insured. The prevailing 
winds are from the southwest ; consequently, they are warm, thus giv- 
ing to the British Isles a much milder winter climate than that of 
corresponding latitudes on the other side of the Atlantic. The har- 
bors of Labrador are blocked by ice for several months in the year, 
while those of the British Isles are always open. 

The great economic strength and commercial development of the 
British Isles is largely a matter of geographical environment and of 
a marked adjustment to this environment by an intelligent and indus- 
trious population. Before the discovery of America these islands 
were on the outskirts of the field of trade, so to speak, and the share 
of commerce which they enjoyed was comparatively inconsiderable. 
The Mediterranean was the great center of commercial activity, and 
toward it trade gravitated. When the New World was discovered 
the situation changed. The oceans which hitherto had been barriers 
to trade and travel soon were to become the lines of least resistance 
to communication. The New World developed to feed the Old, and 
the British Isles which were practically in the center of all the land 

1 Plate III. 


a»*ea of the earth became the entrepot, or transit point of a large share 
of the new commerce. Again, the fact that they were in proximity 
to but not in contact with the continent of Europe was an additional 
advantage. " The English Channel enables Great Britain to remain 
quite independent of Europe, and yet to make full use of it ; it en- 
abled the English farmers to keep sheep in the Middle Ages, when 
war made sheep farming impossible on the continent, and it has 
preserved England from many of the terrible plagues which have 
devastated the neighboring countries." 1 Furthermore, the insular 
position has been a safeguard against successful invasion by a foreign 
power (§§ 193, 207). 

From what has been said it is apparent that the British Isles were 
excellently adapted to become a powerful factor in the commercial 
world. As soon as the people had grown up to it, the opportunity 
was grasped ; in more modern times vessels have been constructed 
to transport the commerce until the merchant fleet practically equals 
the combined fleets of the rest of the world. But the work has not 
stopped here. Strategic points at the crossroads of trade, coaling 
stations, lands which promised extensive future markets, or those 
either known or supposed to possess vast mineral wealth or other 
resources have been seized or otherwise acquired. Thus the lines 
have been laid for trade expansion. But while this was in progress 
the inhabitants of Britain were active in developing their abundant 
natural resources, and they became, at the same time, the leaders in 
the industrial world. This was made possible by the favorable distri- 
bution of the coal and iron deposits (§ 331) later to be described, and 
by the fact that the industrial revolution occurred first in England, 
giving that country a great start over all others. Then, when the 
time was ripe, a free-trade policy was adopted. Food and raw ma- 
terials were allowed to come in free of duty, and manufactured goods 
were made at a minimum cost, enabling them to be sold at a price in 
the markets of the world that for a long time defied competition. 

330. England's surface features. The most important geographi- 
cal division of the British Isles is England, and a brief consideration 
of its surface features is necessary to an understanding of its economic 
life. In brief, there are two main natural divisions, and these afford a 
striking contrast to each other. The eastern and southern portions 
are largely a plain covered with limestone or chalk hills ; while the 
northern and western sections are rugged, including a number of 
well-defined physical areas. The nature of the two contrasted surface 

1 Lyde, Commercial Geography of the British Empire, p. 59. 


features explains, in part, the distribution of England's principal in- 
dustries. The highlands of western England, running roughly from 
Berwick to Exeter, contained and still contain vast mineral wealth. 
This was utilized but little until the nineteenth century ; accordingly 
the western section of the country was sparsely populated until after 
the industrial revolution. On the other hand, eastern and southern 
England were adapted to agriculture and grazing ; and here lived the 
bulk of the population, following farming and pastoral pursuits, before 
the great development of manufactures in the west took place. 

331. Mineral resources. Of the natural resources of the British 
Isles, let us first examine those of the mineral kingdom. Tin, copper, 
lead, limestone, salt, slate, coal, and iron are found. The last two occur 
in abundance. Not only this, but often they are found side by side, 
near the sea, with plenty of limestone for flux near at hand. 1 This is 
a great advantage from the point of view of the manufacturer of pig 
iron, for such a favorable geographical distribution reduces to a mini- 
mum the cost of assembling the raw materials. Moreover, being near 
the sea, the cost of getting the products to the seaboard is slight. 
These advantages contributed greatly towards giving Great Britain 
first place for many decades in the world's output of iron and steel. 
Let us now consider briefly the principal coal and iron fields, begin- 
ning with the former. 2 

The Newcastle coal field has been worked for a longer time than 
any of the others, and, from an historical point of view, it has been 
the most important one in the United Kingdom. Recently it has 
been declining relatively, although it still stands second in output, the 
yield in 1907 being about 54,000,000 tons. The field extends along 
both banks of the Tyne, and the ease with which the coal can be 
mined and shipped is scarcely excelled in any other field in the 
world. About one half of the yearly output is consumed locally either 
for domestic purposes or for stimulating the manufactures in this re- 
gion. The rest is either shipped to various English ports or is ex- 
ported. It is estimated that if the present yearly output is continued 
for a century the field will be exhausted. 

The Yorkshire field embraces a continuous area extending from 
the West Riding of Yorkshire into Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. 
Its yearly output exceeds that of any of the other British fields, being 

1 The coal and iron deposits of Ireland are inextensive, besides being far apart. 
The Leinster and Munster coal fields are the leading ones. The former has its center 
at Kilkenny ; the latter is situated along the lower waters of the Shannon. 

2 A good deal of the following account of the British coal fields was obtained from 
Ashley's The Adjustment of Wages. 


about 78,000,000 tons in 1907. The yield doubled between i860 
and 1880, and increased 66 per cent from then until the end of the 
century. The available resources of this field are estimated to be 
" more than three times as great as those of the northern [New- 
castle] field." The coal is used largely in connection with the manu- 
factures of the cities located on or near the borders of the field, 
although some is shipped eastward by rail — mainly to Hull whence it 
is taken to Baltic ports or elsewhere. 

The SoutJi Wales field in 1907 ranked third in output, about 
50,000,000 tons being mined. The yield is increasing rapidly, and, 
in general, the coal in this region is of a superior quality, although 
it varies greatly in different places. For example, there are large quan- 
tities of a type which has from 80 to 90 per cent of carbon so that 
it is intermediary between bituminous and anthracite (cf. § 263). This 
is the celebrated steam coal, which produces "a greater heat at less 
expense for fuel and labor than any other." In some cases it is almost 
smokeless, which is an additional factor in its favor when used for naval 
and other purposes ; immense quantities are sent to the British naval 
coaling stations. The coal deposits in the extreme southwestern part 
of Wales are largely anthracite, but the quantity mined each year is 
small, and much of it is exported. Again, in the eastern part of the 
fields bituminous coal predominates, while between these two extremes 
the intermediate type, mentioned above, is found. A geographical 
factor which contributes greatly towards the ease with which the coal 
may be marketed is the fact that deep river valleys intersect the field, 
and the rivers afford an easy and cheap means of sending the com- 
modity to the sea. And where it has been found necessary to con- 
struct railways, they have been built in these valleys at a small cost. 
South Wales coal finds its way to all parts of the world, although a 
considerable quantity is retained for local smelting, etc. 

The Scottish coal fields may be treated as a single group, since they 
are found comparatively close together. They also enjoy the advan- 
tages of being close to the sea. By far the largest is that in the basin 
of the Clyde. About five sixths of the area of this field lies in Lanark- 
shire, although it reaches out into several counties, extending below 
the port of Glasgow. Southwest of this area is the Ayrshire field 
extending to the ports of Troon and Ardrossan. The other chief 
coal-bearing regions in Scotland are in Fifeshire and Midlothian. The 
Scottish fields yield annually about 35,000,000 tons of coal, nearly 
two thirds of which comes from the basin of the Clyde. Considerable 
quantities are exported from Glasgow and Grangemouth, but by far 


the largest amount is used in connection with the iron and ship- 
building industries of the Clyde. 

The only other really important field is that of Lancashire and 
Cheshire situated to the west of the great Yorkshire field. The annual 
output is about 25,000,000 tons. Comparatively little of this coal is 
shipped either to other parts of England or abroad, but its chief 
market is at home for domestic and manufacturing purposes. 

Of the smaller fields but little need be said. The principal ones are the 
"Cumberland or Whitehaven field, which supplies the blast furnaces of Working- 
ton ; the North Wales fields in Denbighshire and Flint ; the North Staffordshire 
field, which supplies the Potteries ; the South Staffordshire field, which supplies 
the Black Country ; the Coalbrookdale field, which witnessed the introduction of 
the modern method of smelting iron ore by coal instead of charcoal, and which 
has paid the penalty by its early exhaustion ; the coal tracts in Leicestershire, and 
in Warwickshire about Nuneaton; that of the Forest of Dean; and that just 
outside Bristol" 1 Of these, the most important are the North and South Stafford- 
shire fields. 

Several kinds of iron ore are found in the British Isles, and the 
fields are in proximity to the coal beds. The best ore is the variety 
known as red hematite, occurring in Cumberland and North Lanca- 
shire, mainly between the two great coal fields in this region. This 
district stands second among the British fields in annual production, 
being surpassed only by that of the Cleveland region in northeastern 
Yorkshire. Middlesbrough has become a great center for smelting, 
as also Stockton, Darlington, and various places along the Tyne. Other 
important iron deposits are found in South Wales, the Forest of Dean, 
Northamptonshire, and the Scottish Lowlands. Enormous quantities 
of ore are imported from other countries to feed the smelting works. 
An excellent variety, magnetic ore, is obtained from Sweden and is 
smelted mainly at Middlesbrough and other neighboring places. 
Red hematite is brought in from Spain to various ports in South 
Wales and smelted at Newport, Merthyr Tydfil, and other centers. 

The magnitude of the coal and iron and steel industries of the 
United Kingdom as compared with others is often underestimated. 
They engage nearly one eighth of the labor force of the country, or 
more than the whole of that engaged in agriculture. 

Many other minerals occur, although usually in small quantities. 
Tin has been mined for ages in the Cornish peninsula. The copper 
deposits are nearly exhausted. Ores bearing both silver and lead are 
obtainable at Leadhills in Scotland, in the Isle of Man, Wales, etc. 
Limestone, oil shale, salt, sandstone, slate, and zinc occur in greater or 

1 Ashley, The Adjustment of Wages, p. 29. 



less quantities. The total value of the mineral products of the United 
Kingdom in 191 1 was over $600,000,000. 

332. Agriculture. The amount of land available for agriculture 
and pasturage in the British Isles varies greatly according to the 
country under consideration. In Ireland 18 per cent of the land 
is arable, and 5 5 per cent is covered with permanent pasturage ; in 
Scotland the corresponding percentages are 18 and 7 ; in Wales, 
19 and 40 ; and in England, 35 and 40. 1 The principal farm crops 
are cereals, grasses, and roots. In general, intensive farming is prac- 
ticed and this on scientific principles. Accordingly, the yield per acre 
is enormous, greatly exceeding that of the farms in the United States. 

The cereal crops are oats, wheat, barley, and rye. For the whole 
United Kingdom oats is the most important, although in England 
wheat predominates. Much of the wheat is the winter variety, which 
is sufficiently hardy to withstand the winter temperature. "Wheat- 
growing on an extensive scale is restricted to the southeast of Eng- 
land, not because the other parts of the kingdom are colder in winter, 
but because they are colder, wetter, and more cloudy in summer." 

Formerly it was the aim of England to be self-supporting in matters 
of food supply ; this lasted through the period of the dominance of 
the agricultural classes. The rise of the merchant and manufacturing 
interests was followed by a change of policy. The Corn Laws (which 
imposed an import duty on wheat) were abolished, in large part, in 
1846, and under the policy of free trade England became increas- 
ingly dependent upon other countries for her food. The resulting 
low cost of living, since it now was made possible to secure compar- 
atively cheap labor, enabled goods to be manufactured at a minimum 
cost ; and it was not until near the close of the nineteenth century 
that other countries were able to compete successfully in the markets 
of the world with British manufactures. Wheat raising was particu- 
larly easy and cheap in such countries as the United States and 
Argentina. Besides, the development of the art of transportation 
made it possible to land foreign grains in English ports at a price so 
low that labor and capital in the United Kingdom could be employed 
more profitably in occupations other than farming. Even in the last 
twenty years the area of the cereal lands in Great Britain has been 
reduced by one twelfth and in Ireland by one fourth. 2 

1 Herbertson, Commercial Geography of the British Empire, p. 22. About 3 per 
cent of the area of the United Kingdom is woodland (cf. § 156.) 

2 Ibid., p. 24. From 1870 to 1900 the area under wheat decreased between 2,000,000 
and 2,500,000 acres. 


Potatoes and turnips are important crops, the former being of 
special importance in the west of Ireland. Flax is grown extensively 
in Ulster, and to a small degree in Scotland. In the south of 
England hops are an important crop, while different varieties of fruit 
are cultivated in the eastern part of the country. Upon the outskirts 
of the larger cities and towns truck farming is an important and 
profitable industry (cf. § 233). 

333. Domestic animals. The conditions necessary for the extensive 
raising of domestic animals (§ 237) do not apply to the United 
Kingdom, with the possible reservation of Ireland. Consequently, 
only a fraction of the meat and dairy products required by the large 
population, which excels in the consumption of beef and mutton, is 
raised at home ; hence the large imports of these goods. Such com- 
modities can be produced at a minimum cost in comparatively new 
countries like Canada, the United States, Australia, and Argentina. 
Moreover, the development of the art of refrigeration (§ 235) and 
the comparatively low cost of transportation at the present day 
combine to make it possible to market such commodities at a profit 
thousands of miles from the scene of production. 

The distribution of the domestic animals is governed, in a large 
degree, by the character of the pasture lands. Hence cattle predom- 
inate in Ireland and in western England where meadow grass 
grows in profusion. It is asserted that Ireland raises more live stock, 
in proportion to population, than any other country in Europe. Sheep 
are more numerous in regions where the rainfall is comparatively 
small, i.e. in the eastern section of Great Britain ; " the chalk 
Downs of England and the Southern Uplands of Scotland are the 
best sheep regions." The mutton is of a superior quality, and ex- 
cellent varieties of wool are produced. Horses, swine, and poultry are 
raised in considerable numbers ; but it should ever be kept in mind 
that both agriculture and the rearing of domestic animals are far less 
important lines of activity and afford a livelihood to a much smaller 
proportion of the population than do manufacturing and commerce. 

334. Fisheries. The fresh-water fisheries of the British Isles are 
inextensive, but those of the sea are of great value. The principal 
scenes of operation are the waters of the North Sea, especially over 
its various shallow banks, and among the islands north and west 
of the British Isles. Until comparatively modern times, when boats 
and sailing vessels monopolized the industry, it was scattered widely ; 
but since the introduction of steam navigation there has been a 
tendency for the fisheries to center in a few advantageous places. 


That is, there has been a better adjustment to the environment ; 
the selected centers were likely to be as near as possible to the fish- 
ing grounds and to the best markets. There has been a tendency 
also for fishermen to extend their operations over longer periods of 
time than formerly, for their steam-propelled vessels can be moved 
rapidly from place to place where the best fishing offers. Thus 
Yarmouth vessels may go to Cornwall for pilchard, to the southwest 
coast of Ireland for mackerel, and to the Isle of Man or the Shetland 
Islands for herring. 1 The eastern part of England figures more ex- 
tensively in the fisheries than any other section of the United 
Kingdom ; of the fish landed in England, over 80 per cent in weight 
and about the same percentage in value are brought into ports 
on the east coast. Important centers are Great Grimsby, sometimes 
called the metropolis of the British fish trade ; London, in whose 
Billingsgate market is collected the major portion of the combined 
catch of the east and south coasts ; Plymouth, Yarmouth, Lowestoft, 
and Leith. 

335. Manufactures in general. Broadly considered, the United 
Kingdom is the greatest and most typical manufacturing country in 
the world. It was not until the nineteenth century, however, when 
the factory system of production arose, that the manufactures assumed 
any great proportions. For our purposes it is not necessary to give 
more than passing mention to the earlier and more primitive methods 
of production. Under the domestic system, which preceded the factory 
system, goods were made in the homes of artisans who used their 
own tools. The raw material had come to be owned by an employer 
who alone was responsible for the sale of the product. Hence the 
laborers, who enjoyed considerable independence under the earlier 
gild system, were working now for another party who was more 
or less of a capitalist and possessed of a considerable knowledge of 
market conditions and of business in general. It was fortunate that 
such an organization had been effected before the great mechanical 
inventions of the latter part of the eighteenth century had been made ; 
for independent artisans, possessed of little capital and a limited 
knowledge of business conditions, would scarcely have been tempted 
to introduce costly improvements. 2 Let us now consider some of the 
more important inventions to which reference has been made above. 
This will serve at the same time as an introduction to the textile indus- 
tries, particularly that of cotton, which was the first to be transformed. 

1 See Lyde, Commercial Geography of the British Empire, p. 75. 
- See Day. A History of Commerce, p. 213. 


336. Mechanical inventions. In order to appreciate fully the 
significance of the inventions, it is necessary to state that two distinct 
sets of processes are involved in the making of cotton cloth ; and, in 
general, this applies to other textiles as well. First, the yarn is spun 
from the fiber ; then it is woven into cloth. Under the hand system 
of production it can readily be seen that an adjustment of the two 
processes of production would attend to itself automatically. The 
addition of a few extra weavers would call for more spinners in order 
that the supply and demand should equal each other. About the 
middle of the eighteenth century the flying shuttle was introduced, 
and it so greatly increased the capacity of the hand looms that the 
spinners could no longer satisfy, the demands of the weavers. But 
the situation was soon to be reversed, for inventive minds were to 
evolve machinery the use of which would place the weavers at a dis- 
advantage. Hitherto it had been difficult to spin cotton yarn suffi- 
ciently strong to be used for the warp of cloth, linen being required 
to meet this need. But in 1769 Arkwright came to the rescue with 
a so-called water frame, which overcame this difficulty. A year later 
the spinning jenny was patented by Hargreaves, and by its use one 
operative could produce eight threads at one time instead of a single 
strand as before. Once the principle had been worked out success- 
fully, it was only a question of time before even a still greater number 
of threads could be made simultaneously by a single hand. In 1779 
a machine combining the improvements of the two was introduced 
by Crompton, and this was so perfected that finer yarns from which 
muslins were made could be produced. 

These inventions were bound, in time, to stimulate an improvement 
of the looms, which could no longer consume the yarns with sufficient 
speed. This was effected by Cartwright's power loom, which was 
patented in 1785, but not until after considerable delay and many 
changes by way of betterment did it transform the process of weaving. 
In fact, the handworkers struggled on in the face of the competition 
of the new machines for several decades before the factory system 
had fairly completely supplanted its predecessor. Meanwhile, water 
power came to be used quite commonly, taking the place of human 
strength as a motive power for running the machines ; and this in 
turn was to be superseded by steam. It was of no mean significance 
that Watt patented his steam engine in 1769 just as the great 
mechanical inventions referred to above were being made. 

337. Adaptation to environment. One of the inevitable effects of 
the introduction of machinery was the movement of the workers from 


their homes to common centers, the factories. This necessitated the 
selection of factory sites for the various industries. So long as water 
was the motive power, those districts which had a natural advantage 
in this respect were particularly favored ; and the way in which the 
various industries distributed themselves, one here and another there, 
affords a striking illustration of adaptation to a new environment. In 
this connection a writer on the subject of English commerce and 
industry has expressed himself as follows : 

" In a previous age, under the old conditions of industry, a plentiful supply of 
the raw material on the one hand, and easy access to the market for the sale 
of the finished goods on the other, were chief considerations fixing the place 
of manufacture. The Eastern Counties became the main seat of the woollen in- 
dustry, because the flocks of sheep, from which the wool was taken, were raised 
and pastured on the neighbouring plains, and intercourse was easy and speedily 
conducted across the adjoining sea with the markets of the Netherlands and 
Germany. The fine breed of sheep in the West of England and the importance 
of the port of Bristol were jointly responsible for the fame of West of England 
cloth." » 

But now, with the introduction of great machines driven by water 
power, it became necessary to take the raw material to the most 
advantageous place of manufacture. 

"Water was found in abundance in the Northern counties of Lancashire, 
Cheshire, and Yorkshire, but was scanty in the South and East. Lancashire was 
specially favoured. The range of hills stretching from Kendal in Westmoreland to 
Macclesfield in Cheshire broke the rain-clouds coming from the West ; but the 
slope, by which the rivers reached the sea, was little more than fifty miles on the 
western side in Lancashire, while the Yorkshire rivers on the eastern side had to 
travel twice that length, and the Derbyshire rivers on the south were severed 
from their outlet by some two hundred miles. The water-power thus available 
in Lancashire was at once greater in force, and more constant in supply; and 
the cotton industry, enabled by comparative freedom from tradition to take 
advantage of the new factory system more readily than the ancient woollen in- 
dustry, was established in the district. The abundant rainfall which furnished 
copious stores of the motive-power, caused a dampness in the air which favored 
the spinning of the yarn. For similar reasons the woollen industry left the Eastern 
Counties, and found its principal home in Yorkshire, where it had settled to some 
extent before and was worked on the domestic system. In this industry the part- 
ing from earlier traditions was accomplished more slowly and more reluctantly, 
for the traditions themselves were older and more firmly rooted. The reasons 
which led to the settlement of the linen industry in the North of Ireland, and in 
Scotland, were also similar ; and the later movement of the silk manufacture from 
Spitalfields in London to Macclesfield in Cheshire was connected with the 
change from handicraft to factory." 2 

1 Price, A Short History of English Commerce and Industry, pp. 196-197. 

2 Ibid., pp. 197-198. 


When steam came to be substituted for water as a motive power, 
nearness to coal (the source of the power) and to iron (the material 
for the machines) became prominent factors in the further readjust- 
ment to environment. But Lancashire and Yorkshire were equally 
as well favored for the new conditions as they had been for the old 
(cf. § 331). Besides, their cities and towns contained the necessary 
labor supply, while the numerous water ways afforded excellent avenues 
of transportation before the coming of the railways. Accordingly, these 
districts continued to be the great manufacturing centers. 

338. Cotton manufactures. 1 In undertaking now a more detailed 
discussion of this particular branch of the textile industry, it should 
be stated that cotton manufacturing is the most important industry in 
the United Kingdom. In fact, one of the greatest branches of the 
world's trade, if not the greatest, is that in cotton and its products. 
A hundred years ago the woolen manufactures of Great Britain were 
worth about twenty times those of cotton ; to-day the latter are double 
the value of the former. It was not until the nineteenth century was 
well under way that the cotton industry had grown to any great pro- 
portions ; yet the increase in the imports of the raw material shows 
that great advances were being made. In 1760 the figure was 
1,000,000 pounds; this grew to 56,000,000 in 1800, and to 400,- 
000,000 in 1840. To-day the imports total over 2,800,000,000 
pounds, and, deducting that which is exported, the amount retained 
for home consumption is 2,482,000,000 pounds (191 2). 2 

Within the county of Lancashire, England, may be found about 
a third of the cotton-spinning spindles of the world, whose product 
constitutes 75 per cent of the cotton goods for the world's markets. 
In addition to the advantages for cotton manufactures, already men- 
tioned (§§ 331, 337), possessed by this region, the relative nearness 
of the port of Liverpool to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of America, 
from whose ports nearly all of the raw cotton consumed in the United 
Kingdom originates, is an important factor. Moreover, Liverpool is 
one of the most important ports of communication with America, 
and it has come to be the chief cotton market of England and the 
home of the raw cotton exchange. In Lancashire the cotton industry 
has become highly specialized ; not only are spinning and weaving 
carried on in different establishments, but they are conducted in 

1 For further discussion, see Whittam's M Report on England's Cotton Industry," 
Bureau of Manufactures, Department of Commerce and Labor, Washington, 1907, 
from which many of the facts here given were obtained. 

2 For a summary of the development of the textile industries of the United King- 
dom, the reader is referred to the Appendix, Table XX. 


different districts, South Lancashire monopolizing the spinning, while 
weaving predominates in the north and east. But specialization ex- 
tends still further, for Bolton and Manchester lead in the spinning of 
fine yarns for spool cotton, lace, etc., and Oldham and its adjoining 
towns produce yarns for weaving. Again, Preston and Chorley lead 
in the weaving of light- to heavy-weight fancy goods ; Blackburn 
and other neighboring towns in sheetings ; while Colne and Nelson 
(previously called Marsden) are noted for colored fabrics. Immense 
fire-proof mills, built from a combination of steel, iron, brick, and 
concrete, are the rule ; and they are so designed and the machinery 
is so arranged as to permit of a good distribution of light for the 

In spite of the immensity of the cotton-manufacturing business at 
the opening of the twentieth century, the growth since that date has 
been rapid. In fact, "the recent erection of new cotton mills in 
Lancashire has been without parallel in industrial history." More 
than ic,ooo,ooo spindles were added in three or four years, with a 
sufficient number of additional looms to consume the increased out- 
put of yarn. The increase in the number of spindles from 1900 to 
1907 in the Lancashire district alone exceeded the total number of 
spindles in our southern states. The yearly output of the mills is 
enormous. In addition to supplying the home demand for a popu- 
lation about half as large as that of the whole United States, the 
yearly exports total over 6,000,000,000 yards of cotton cloth valued 
at over $400,000,000, besides cotton yarn and miscellaneous cotton 
manufactures to the value of $118,000,000. The only centers of 
production of importance outside the Lancashire district are at Pais- 
ley in Scotland, noted for its thread, and Nottingham, the region 
where cotton lace and net are made. 

339. Woolen manufactures. This is the oldest branch of the textile 
industries of the United Kingdom. For a long time Norfolk was 
the leading center of manufacture, one of its villages, Worstead, giv- 
ing its name to worsted goods. 1 But later, when coal came to be 
an important factor in production, the Yorkshire industry grew at 
the expense of that of Norfolk. The latter district did not have the 
necessary coal or even water power, both of which were abundant in 
the former (cf. § 331). The excellent pasturage for sheep afforded by 
the neighboring Pennine ranges had helped to start the woolen man- 
ufactures of Yorkshire at an early date, while towards the close of 
the fifteenth century they had been stimulated by the incoming of a 

1 Cf. Ilerbertson, Commercial Geography of the British Isles, p. 46. 


considerable number of Flemish weavers. To-day Yorkshire is the 
chief center of the industry ; but, in addition to several other smaller 
centers, two other important ones are to be noted, namely, southern 
Scotland and western England. 

Leeds, on the Aire, is the headquarters of the woolen-cloth trade, 
and Bradford is the great center for worsted goods. Farther south, 
in the valley of the Calder, are other manufacturing towns, in many 
cases famous for some specialty, notably Halifax (carpets and baizes), 
Huddersfield (woolen fabrics, plain and fancy), and Dewsbury 
(blankets). Practically all of the towns and villages on the eastern 
slope of the Pennines and some on the western side produce woolen 
goods of some sort. The valleys of the Tweed and its tributaries 
have several towns where cheviots and tweeds are made, notably at 
Galashields, Selkirk, Hawick, and Jedburgh. The west-of- England 
cloths are manufactured at Stroud in Gloucestershire, Bradford in 
Wiltshire, and at a few other less-important centers. 

The home clip of wool is about 130,000,000 pounds annually, of 
which 47,000,000 pounds are exported. The imports retained for 
consumption amount to nearly 560,000,000 pounds (191 2), being 
brought from Australasia (§§ 363, 366), South Africa (§ 385), and 
other countries. 

340. Other textile manufactures. The superior quality of Irish linens is known 
the world over. The seat of the industry is in Ulster ; and Belfast, which manu- 
factures all kinds of goods but makes a specialty of the finer qualities, is the cen- 
ter. Flax has been cultivated in northeastern Ireland since the time of Charles I. 
and the extensive production of the fiber, even down to the present day, accounts, 
in large part, for the location of the linen industry in Ulster. The home supply 
does not meet the demand, so that Russia and Belgium are drawn upon to make 
up the deficiency. Other linen-producing centers outside of Ireland are Dunferm- 
line (table linen), Kirkcaldy (coarse goods), and Barnsley (upholstery linen). 

The United Kingdom has never been an extensive silk-manufacturing country 
such as France has been, although the industry used to be of relatively greater 
importance than it is at the present time. Probably this may be accounted for by 
the fact that the cotton and woolen industries have been highly developed at the 
expense of others. In former times Spitalfields in London was famous for silk 
manufactures, but at the present day the chief centers are Macclesfield, Derby, 
Coventry, and Bradford (cf. § 337). 

Among other textile manufactures of minor importance are those of jute and 
hemp at Dundee, Arbroath, and Montrose. 

341. Manufactures of metals. 1 It will be recalled that the great 
center of the United Kingdom's most important industry — cotton 
manufacturing — is in the region of the Lancashire coal field ; and 

1 No detailed discussion will be given to any others than those of iron and steel. 


that the extensive woolen manufactures are carried on mainly on the 
coal fields of Yorkshire. Similarly, the great iron and hardware indus- 
tries have been developed on the Staffordshire coal fields, although, 
as will be seen later, other coal areas have important iron and steel 
industries. One striking point of contrast between the textile and 
metal industries is that the raw material for the latter is largely pro- 
duced at home, while for the former, as has been seen, it is imported 

The city of Birmingham and others on or near the South Stafford- 
shire coal fields have long been famous for their iron and hardware 
manufactures. Birmingham has been called the metropolis of the Eng- 
lish iron and metal trades. These started centuries ago when the wood 
of the neighboring forests was still used to smelt the iron. The man- 
ufacture of iron and steel goods in some form or other extends for 
miles through the region stretching from Birmingham mainly in the 
direction of Wolverhampton. All kinds of metal goods are produced 
here from pins and pens to machinery and steam engines. 

Sheffield is the center of the iron industries of the Yorkshire coal 
fields. Its special line, and one which has made it famous, is the 
manufacture of cutlery and tools. For the best goods Swedish iron 
is imported ; otherwise the local product is used. Other important 
manufactures of this district are steel rails, armor plate, scientific 
instruments, and all kinds of machinery. 

In the northeastern counties, in the vicinity of the Newcastle coal 
field and its neighboring Cleveland iron region, shipbuilding, gun 
making, and the production of materials for railway plants are the 
leading metal industries. The shipbuilding yards on the Tyne, Tees, 
and Wear rival those of the Clyde. The machinery for the great 
textile industries is made chiefly in the neighborhood where it is 
used, since, as a rule, coal and iron abound where these works are 
situated. Manchester, Oldham, and Rochdale are producing centers 
for cotton-manufacturing machinery ; Bradford and Keighley for a 
large proportion of that which is required by the woolen plants. In 
the region of the Scottish coal fields there are numerous iron and 
steel manufactures, particularly shipbuilding at various places on the 
Clyde, and machinery and locomotives at Glasgow. 

342. Other manufactures. The United Kingdom has developed an extensive 
chemical industry. The great industrial development of the present day calls for a 
widespread use of chemicals ; it is almost impossible to overestimate their im- 
portance in extracting certain ores, in electrical works, in the manufacture of 
by-products, and in the making of glass, soap, paper, etc. Large alkali works arc 


found at various places in the valleys of the Mersey, Tyne, and Dee. Glass making 
is important at Newcastle, St. Helens in Lancashire, and Glasgow ; soap in 
Glasgow ; candles and paraffin at various places in Midlothian. 

Since the making of earthenware and porcelain requires a great deal of fuel, 
the best environment for their manufacture is on or near coal areas ; if clays occur 
near by, so much the better. These conditions are found in the district called " the 
Potteries " in North Staffordshire, where earthenware goods in great variety are 
made at such centers as Burslem, Stoke, Hanley, and Etruria. Worcester and 
Derby are famous for their porcelain. 

Among other important manufactures are leather working, sugar refining, jam 
and jelly making, beer brewing, and the distilling of whiskies. 

343. Internal transportation in general. The internal transporta- 
tion facilities of the United Kingdom consist of roads, rivers, canals, 
and railroads. Though faulty in some particulars, their development 
has been so perfected that the carrying of persons and property from 
one part of the country to another is easy and rapid. It may be well 
to mention here that the great extent of coast line possessed by Great 
Britain, and the general configuration of the country are important 
factors affecting the question under consideration. The tidal coast line 
is 3000 miles long, being greater than that of any country in conti- 
nental Europe ; no place in Great Britain is far from the sea. Conse- 
quently, enormous quantities of goods are sent coastwise from port 
to port at a rate so low as to defy the competition of any route that 
is strictly internal. 

344. Roads. All of the well-settled parts of the country are 
traversed by roads which, in the main, are good. This is particularly 
true of the trunk lines of travel of which England alone has upwards 
of 22,000 miles. As a rule, the roads are very steep in hilly districts, 
thus contrasting unfavorably with French roads which were built so 
as to avoid steep inclines. The Romans, the great road builders of 
antiquity, during their occupation of Britain supplied the country 
with an excellent system of roads, but these seem to have been used 
but little by the great mass of the people. There were several main 
lines leading from London to the remote parts of the country. After 
the departure of the Romans the roads fell into decay, so that, in 
many cases, it is difficult to determine their original location. Then 
followed a period before the introduction of turnpike roads, when the 
rivers were the principal means of transport. At the present day the 
roads are used not so much for long-distance traffic as for carrying 
produce from farms to railway stations, or from the latter to neighbor- 
ing points of consumption. It is almost impossible to overestimate 
their importance for such purposes as well as for travel. 


345. Rivers and canals. 1 There are about 4770 miles of inland 
water ways in the United Kingdom, 3800 miles of which are in Eng- 
land and Wales; over 600 in Ireland; and the rest (nearly 350 miles) 
in Scotland. The numerous, short navigable rivers afford the basis of 
this system, and these have either been canalized or united by canals, 
of which a regular network is found in some sections of the country. 
Of these more will be said later. The Thames is both the most 
important and the largest river in England, being navigable for 145 
miles. Other rivers having the greatest extent of navigation are the 
Severn, Shannon, and Forth. But some of the shorter ones, such as 
the Tyne, Wear, Tees, H umber, Clyde, Mersey, and Ribble, are of 
great importance for commercial purposes. 

Immense sums of money have been expended in improving the 
navigation of the rivers, dredging their lower courses so that ports could 
be located some distance inland, and in building canals. Efforts in 
these directions commenced in the seventeenth century, or even before 
that time, but the " canal era " came later ; most of the canals were 
built between 1760 and 1830 (cf. § 296). As in the United States, it 
was before the introduction of railways that these were of great sig- 
nificance in the economic development of the country ; with the rail- 
ways came a serious decline in the traffic on the canals. This has been 
attributed to the fact that the railways had acquired control over most 
of the canals, and that they regulated their traffic as they wished ; but 
recent investigations have tended to show that this claim has been 
considerably exaggerated. It is clear that any explanation of the 
phenomenon is faulty which fails to take into consideration the fact 
that the physical condition of most of the canals has remained un- 
changed since the time of their construction ; accordingly, they could 
not fail to become antiquated. This fact has caused considerable atten- 
tion to be directed to the question of modernizing the water ways, and 
there are evidences that the movement will bear fruit ; to it, in fact, 
the building of the Manchester ship canal may be attributed, at least 
in part. This water way is, by far, the most important of the British 
canals, viewed from the standpoint of either the engineer or the busi- 
ness man. It is 3 5 . 5 miles long and runs from Eastham to Manchester ; 
it was commenced in 1887 and was opened for traffic on January 1, 
1894. Its original depth, 26 feet, was considered insufficient ; accord- 
ingly, after three years' continuous work, involving a heavy expenditure 

1 See article by U. A. Forbes in American Waterways, in The Annals of the 

American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. XXXT. \o. i, January, 1908, 
from which some of the facts in this section have been derived. 


of money, a uniform depth of 28 feet has been provided, so that now 
freight steamers of almost any size can go to the docks at Manchester. 
In general, canal building in the United Kingdom, particularly in 
England, has not been difficult. There were no such physical obsta- 
cles as confronted the engineers during the canal era in the United 
States (cf . § 296), nor were the centers to be connected as far distant 
as they were in this country. Even the Pennines offered so slight a 
barrier to communication that three canals have been constructed 
across them, connecting the ports of Goole and Hull on the east with 
those of Liverpool and Preston on the west. Other important canals 
connect the Severn with the Thames, and the Thames with the Trent. 
In Scotland the two principal canals are those connecting the Forth 
near Grangemouth with the Clyde near Renfrew, and the Caledonian 
canal through Glenmore. 

346. Railroads. Already it has been seen that England was the 
pioneer in railroad building, and that this method of transportation 
passed through numerous preliminary and experimental stages in the 
Old World before its introduction into the United States (§§ 298, 
299). No attempt will be made here to describe in detail the network 
of railroads in the United Kingdom, but it may be said that as carriers 
of commerce it is almost impossible to overestimate their importance. 
They have contributed more than any other single factor towards the 
development of the internal commerce of the country, and they con- 
tinue to be the chief means of internal transportation. There are over 
23,000 miles of railway, of which nearly 16,000 miles are in England 
and Wales ; the rest of the mileage is pretty evenly divided between 
Scotland and Ireland. All but upwards of 3000 miles is standard 
gauge. London is the great railway center, and important lines radi- 
ate from that city in all directions, terminating in great industrial 
centers or at important seaports. 

Some of the principal lines are the Great Western, connecting London with 
Birkenhead ; the London and Southwestern, running from London to Devonport, 
with branches to Southampton, Portsmouth, and Weymouth; the London, Brighton, 
and South Coast, affording connections with Portsmouth and Newhaven ; the 
Southeastern and Chatham, running through Tunbridge, Ashford, and Folkstone 
to Dover; the Great Northern, the Northeastern, and the London and North- 
western, which, in conjunction, connect London with the Midlands and the north 
of England. The points of connection between the main English lines and those 
of Scotland are Carlisle and Berwick. The Scottish lines radiate from Glasgow 
and Edinburgh ; those of Ireland from Dublin. 

347. Merchant marine. The United Kingdom occupies the first 
place among the countries of the world in the size of its merchant 


marine, and the growth since the advent of the steamer has been 
enormous. It was not until the third decade of the nineteenth century 
that the first steamer crossed the Atlantic. The formation of the 
Cunard Company soon took place (1839), and at that time the total 
tonnage of merchant vessels on the British register was 3,312,000, 
comprising 28,138 sailing vessels and 824 steamers, — 28,962 in all. 
In 191 2 the tonnage of the merchant marine of the United Kingdom 
was 18,213,620, or close on to 45 per cent of the world's tonnage. 
Sailing vessels numbered 755 ; steamers, 8524, — a total of 9279. 1 
The figures for 19 12 take into consideration only vessels of over 
roo tons ; but, making due allowances for those under that figure, it 
is clear that the number of vessels in the British merchant marine 
has decreased materially during the past 70 years. Sweeping changes 
have taken place in shipbuilding during the period under considera- 
tion ; steamers are supplanting sailing vessels ; steel and iron have, 
as the material for construction, taken the place of wood to a large 
degree ; and the growth in size, as the above figures suggest, and the 
increase in speed have been enormous. 

We have seen that the navigation laws of the United States restrict 
the coasting and intercolonial trade to vessels flying the American 
flag (§§ 313, 314). Similar regulations used to exist in the British 
Isles ; but, by the repeal of the Navigation Acts in 1849, the coasting 
trade was thrown open to all comers, and the policy of " free ships" 
was adopted (cf. § 311). 

Half a century ago the British merchant marine carried only about 
50 per cent of the foreign commerce of the United Kingdom, but 
as the tonnage has increased, so has the percentage of the foreign 
trade that is carried under the British flag, until now probably the 
latter is not far from 75 per cent. Besides, Great Britain is the great 
commerce carrier of other nations ; British vessels carry a large pro- 
portion of the enormous commerce which passes to and fro between 
the United Kingdom and the United States ; they carry approximately 
50 per cent of the foreign trade of Russia, Holland, Belgium, France, 
and Portugal, and a smaller share of that of many other countries. 

348. Foreign commerce. In studying the foreign commerce of the 
United Kingdom it should ever be kept in mind that this country 
differs from many others in that it carries on a large entrepot 
business. " It trades not merely in its own surplus produce — raw 

1 In the same year the tonnage of the merchant marine of the colonies of Great 
Britain was 1,660,740. Steamers numbered 1490; sailing vessels, 675. The total 
merchant marine under the British flag was 19,874,360 tons. 


and manufactured — but in almost every article of colonial and foreign 
produce, raw and manufactured, in which a profitable trade can be 
done." A partial explanation of this phenomenon is that the commerce 
between various countries is too small to make a direct exchange of 
commodities advisable. It is cheaper to send the goods to some 
center such as London, whence they are reshipped to their various 

The foreign commerce of the United Kingdom is larger than that 
of any other country in the world. In 191 2 it amounted to over 
:S6, 5 00,000,000. l The leading causes for the preeminence of the 
British Isles in this particular already have been mentioned (§ 329) ; 
but within recent years other countries, notably the United States 
and Germany, have been developing their foreign trade faster than 
has the United Kingdom, until they have become dangerous rivals 
in the struggle for commercial supremacy. The real situation, which 
caused considerable anxiety to British statesmen and business men at 
the beginning of the twentieth century, was that the country's export 
trade, in particular, was not in a healthy condition. This led to extreme 
pessimism on the part of certain reformers and others who were 
confident that their country was entering upon the initial stages of 
decay. It was proposed, among other remedies, to change completely 
the commercial policy of the country and to return to protection. 
There is a danger of England losing the coveted position of leader 
in the industrial and commercial world, but there are no indications 
whatever that she is declining absolutely in any important particular. 

A noticeable feature of the foreign commerce is the great excess 
of imports over exports each year. In 191 2 the former amounted 
to $3,624,000,000; the latter to $2,371,000,000, — an excess of over 
Si, 000,000,000. 2 During the fifteen years from 1890 to 1904, inclu- 
sive, the excess of the imports over the exports was $1 1,010,000,000. 
Such a condition of affairs needs some explanation ; for it might well 
be wondered how a country could continue, year after year, to import 
so much more than she exports without becoming bankrupt. In the 
case of the United Kingdom this is made possible by the fact that 
vast sums of money from abroad are payable each year to her citizens, 
and these payments, in many cases, are made in kind (commodities) 
rather than in cash. Loans bearing a steady rate of interest have been 
made to many companies and to various governments in foreign 
countries to enable them to build railways, open mines, and otherwise 

1 Of the foreign commerce of the United Kingdom, in 1905, England had 90.5 
per cent; Scotland, 8 per cent; and Ireland, 1.5 per cent. - Reexports excluded. 


exploit their natural resources. British vessels earn enormous sums 
of money in carrying goods for other countries. 1 Commissions and 
premiums of various kinds are payable in London, the commercial 
and financial center of the world. When these and other similar items 
are taken into consideration, the "unfavorable balance of trade" is 
accounted for. 

With reference to the exports it should be noted that manufactured 
goods form, in value, about 75 per cent of the whole, and this figure 
becomes considerably greater if we include the partly manufactured 
commodities ; but a small percentage is thus left for other classes of 
exports such as foods and raw materials. The latter are nearly all 
imported first, and form a part of the large entrepot trade mentioned 
above. There is one noticeable exception, and that is coal. In 1903 
about 45,000,000 tons were exported, being between 15 and 20 
per cent of the total output of the British mines. Cotton yarns and 
the various classes of cotton goods make up over 25 per cent of the 
exports, and woolen yarns and woolens about 10 per cent. 

Of the imports, "food, drink, and tobacco" constitute the principal 
class, amounting, in 191 2, to $1,365,000,000. The largest item is 
grain and flour ($430,667,000), although meat and meat animals 
amount to over $238,000,000. " Raw materials " are not far behind 
the first group, for the annual value of their imports is $ 1 ,342,000,000 ; 
by far the largest item here is cotton ($390,000,000), and wool stands 
second ($ 1 77,43 1 ,000). The imports of manufactured goods amounted 
to $902,000,000 in 191 2. Although the United Kingdom is generally 
spoken of as a free-trade country, this is not literally true, for there are 
a small number of duties levied on such imports as tobacco, tea, coffee, 
cacao, wine, beer, and spirits. 

A detailed consideration of the geographical distribution of British 
foreign trade would show that it is world-wide. Almost every country 
is drawn upon, to a greater or less extent, for goods which figure in 
the imports, while British manufactures find their way to the remotest 
parts of the world. Rather more than a quarter of the foreign trade 
is with British possessions ; one quarter of the imports come from 
them, and they take about one third of the exports. The commerce 
with Europe is far more extensive than with any other continent ; 
France and Germany, in order, lead in furnishing imports, while the 

1 In a special report presented to the British Parliament in 1903 by the British 
Hoard of Trade regarding the commerce of the United Kingdom, it was estimated 
that a sum not less than ^90,000,000 should be added to the exports on account of 
the ocean-carrying trade. 


same two countries, in reverse order, are the largest European pur- 
chasers. The single country with which the United Kingdom has 
the largest trade is the United States, but the purchases from the 
latter, which amount to nearly a quarter of the value of all the imports, 
are between four and five times as great in value as are the exports 
sent to that country. The enormous value of the imports from the 
United States is due to the prevalence of such important items as 
cotton and other raw materials, and foodstuffs. 



349. Introductory. British America includes the Dominion of 
Canada, Newfoundland, British Honduras, British Guiana, the Ber- 
mudas, the British West Indies, and the Falkland Islands. Of all the 
British possessions the world over, Canada is the largest, the most 
important, the most prosperous, and the colony whose immediate 
future seems the brightest. Its area is practically the same as that 
of the United States, and, to add another comparison, it embraces 
about one third of the whole Empire. It includes all the continent 
north of the United States with the exception of Alaska and the 
coast of Labrador ; the latter belongs to Newfoundland. The coun- 
try is as yet sparsely populated excepting over limited areas ; but, 
according to recent investigations, it has been found that cereals 
and other hardy crops can be raised easily far north of the present 
cultivated areas — in regions hitherto considered unsuited to agri- 
culture by reason of the rigorous climate. Here also are being 
found vast stores of mineral wealth, although much of the country 
has not been " prospected." The realization is just dawning that 
there are great possibilities in the settlement and development of 
Canada northward as well as westward as soon as the country is 
made accessible by the building of railways; and in this work the 
Canadians are now putting forth the most strenuous efforts, as we 
shall presently see. 

The Dominion of Canada as a political unit has been in existence 
for a little more than forty years. On July I, 1867, it was formed 
by the confederation of a number of separate provinces. Other prov- 
inces have been admitted since, so that there are now nine — Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, 
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. In addition, 
there is a vast region commonly called the Northwest Territories, 
from which it is likely that other provinces will be formed as the 
country becomes more densely settled. Ottawa, in Ontario, is the 
seat of the federal government ; the various provinces have their own 
parliaments which deal with affairs of local concern. 



350. Surface features. It is difficult to present, within a limited 
space, and with any degree of accuracy and detail, the surface fea- 
tures of so extensive a country as Canada. This information can best 
be obtained by consulting a physical map. Broadly speaking, how- 
ever, there are several natural divisions that may be mentioned as 
having an important bearing upon human activities. In the extreme 
west are high ranges of mountains of which the easternmost are the 
Rockies (cf. § 66). These are a great climatic barrier in that they 
shut off the moisture from the Pacific. They are not without great 
direct economic significance, however, for they are storehouses of 
mineral wealth ; the flood plains of the rivers (Fraser, Upper Colum- 
bia, etc.) are fertile agricultural lands ; and their extensive forests are 
of great value. Their bearing upon transportation, especially in the 
matter of making railway building difficult, has been far-reaching. 
Descending gradually from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, the next great surface feature encountered is what we may desig- 
nate the Great Central Plain, which has a slight slope from near the 
boundary line between Canada and the United States to the Arctic 
Ocean. This region embraces a large proportion of the whole area 
of Canada. The southwestern portion, in particular, consists of 
prairies whose soil and climate are excellently adapted to agriculture. 
Here " there is a rise on the whole from east to west, and this rise 
takes place in such a manner as to form what are known as the 
three prairie steps. The lowest level in this region is that of the Red 
River Valley [a portion of Manitoba], between 700 and 800 feet. West 
of that valley the surface rises to about 1 500 feet, and this terrace 
stretches westwards for about 250 miles. The ground then rises to 
about 2000 feet, and then the rise is more gradual to the foothills 
of the Rocky Mountains." 1 North and east of the prairies are exten- 
sive forests, which reach from the frontier of Alaska and, bordering 
upon those of the Cordilleras, stretch across the country from north- 
west to southeast. The more densely wooded southern part of this 
area gradually passes into a more sparsely forested region farther 
north, beyond which are tundras such as are found in northern 
Europe and Asia. In the eastern part of Canada are extensive 
stretches of uplands. The Appalachian Mountain system, already 
described (§63), extends through New Brunswick to the neighbor- 
hood of the mouth of the St. Lawrence. 

351. Agriculture. The most widespread occupation in Canada is 
farming, which is carried on to a greater or less extent in all the 

1 Chisholm, Handbook of Commercial Geography, p. 458. 


provinces. The soil and climatic conditions arc suited to the growing 
of all the fruits and vegetables of the temperate zone. Mixed farming 
prevails in the east, and before the opening up of the cereal lands 
of central Canada, wheat and other cereals were produced for local 
consumption. But the eastern farmers can no longer compete in the 
growing of cereals with those farther west, so that the latter supply the 
former with most of their flour and feed. Canadian dairy products, 
particularly cheese, are in great demand in the mother country, but 
the quantity exported has decreased in recent years, owing to a greater 
home consumption. The valleys of the Annapolis and Cornwallis 
rivers, often called the " Garden of Nova Scotia," are famous apple- 
growing regions, and the surplus product is sent chiefly to the English 
market. Southern Ontario, the peninsula nearly surrounded by the 
Great Lakes, is also a fruit region. It is in the same latitude as north- 
ern Italy, and produces the choicest apples, pears, plums, peaches, 
grapes, and other small fruits. The less perishable of these are sent 
to the English market, but specially equipped trains convey large 
quantities to more or less distant local centers. 

The development of Canada, particularly the west, is proceeding 
at such a rapid pace that any statement regarding the output of the 
farms, or mines, or forests must soon be antedated. According to a 
report published by the Census and Statistics Office, the area of field 
crops in 19 12 totaled over 32,000,000 acres, and their value was esti- 
mated to be $512,000,000. The crop of greatest value was hay and 
clover ($ 1 24,000,000) ; the yield of oats is almost double that of wheat, 
which latter has now passed the 300,000, ooo-bushel mark, 1 an in- 
crease of 600 per cent since the opening of the century. The extension 
of railways in western Canada and the occupation of the fertile lands 
in the wheat belt by immigrants account, in a large degree, for this 
increase. As late as 1901 Ontario produced one half of all the wheat 
grown in Canada, but, according to the official estimates for 191 2, 
the center of production had so shifted that the Northwest provinces 
were credited with a crop valued at over $113,000,000 as compared 
with less than $ 1 1 ,000,000 for the rest of the Dominion. The dangers 
of frosts occurring before harvest time are being minimized by the 
selection of hardy varieties of the cereal for seed, which, fortunately, 
yield hard wheat of excellent quality. Broadly considered, the soil in 
large areas of central Canada is a rich black loam with a subsoil of 
clay which retains considerable moisture. "The richness of the soil, 

1 The wheat yields in 1910, 191 1, and 1915 respectively were 150,000,000, 216,000,- 
000, and 376,000,000 (estimated) bushels. 


as also its color, is due to the accumulation through centuries of the 
droppings of birds and beasts, and the ashes of prairie fires." In the 
more arid regions hundreds of thousands of acres of land are being 
made productive by irrigation. 

The more optimistic of those best informed regarding Canada's 
agricultural resources predict that within a decade she will produce 
sufficient wheat to feed the teeming population of the British Isles. 
A more conservative authority, however, who based his conclusions 
upon an exhaustive investigation made as the basis for a report to the 
British Board of Trade, stated that " very great improvements in the 
productive powers of the country, and a very considerable increase in 
the effective population, as well as a more exclusive regard to wheat 
cultivation, would have to take place before the northwest could be 
regarded as being in a position to be relied upon as producing for ex- 
port to Great Britain a quantity of wheat nearly sufficient for the 
growing requirements of the country." 

352. Forest resources. The extent of timbered area in Canada is 
exceeded only by that of Russia and the United States. The reckless 
waste and extravagance which, until recent years, characterized the 
exploitation of the forest resources in the United States, and the evil 
results and unrest which have followed, promise to stand as a healthful 
warning to Canada, where the danger of a forest famine is not as yet 
imminent. According to an estimate of the Superintendent of Forestry 
in 1903, there were 192,000,000,000 feet of merchantable timber; 
other estimates show that there are about 1,250,000 square miles of 
forest lands, an area between one third and one half of the whole ex- 
tent of the country. It has been pointed out, however, that the lands 
possessing forest growths, which are both commercially valuable and 
also accessible for exploitation upon the present stage of transportation 
development, are extremely limited. The wealth of the great northern 
forests is as yet largely a matter of conjecture, but it is believed to be 
great ; at all events it cannot be utilized until railroads are extended 
thither. Commercial woods are found in great variety ; these include 
various kinds of pine, spruce, fir, cedar, oak, elm, beech, and maple. 
The cost of cutting and transporting the logs is comparatively small, 
for labor is cheap in winter and the abundant snow packs easily into ex- 
cellent temporary roads over which the logs are trailed to the banks of 
the rivers. Then in spring they are "driven" down the swollen streams 
to the sawmills. The workmen, who no longer are needed in the woods, 
find employment as extra farm hands during the summer months. Im- 
portant centers of the lumber trade are Ottawa, Deseronto, and St. John. 


Tulp wood is an important product, large quantities of which are 
exported to the United States. The principal woods used for pulp are 
spruce, hemlock, and poplar, of which Canada has an abundant supply ; 
in particular, she possesses the only important spruce forests that re- 
main in North America. 

353. Minerals. Canada is known* to have great mineral wealth, 
although it has been as yet but slightly developed. As the country 
has become better known and more carefully prospected, new mines 
have been discovered, and it is confidently believed that it is only a 
matter of time before Canada will occupy a conspicuous place among 
the nations in the production of a great variety of precious and useful 
minerals. From 1886 to 191 2 the value of the total output increased 
from #10,22 1, 000 to $135,000,000 ; the latter was a record figure, 
being 30 per cent greater than that of the previous year. 

The annual value of the coal output exceeds that of any other 
mineral, being $36,019,000, or nearly 27 per cent of the value of the 
total product. This mineral is found on both the Atlantic and Pacific 
coasts ; there are, besides, important deposits elsewhere, especially in 
Alberta and southeastern Saskatchewan. 1 

The extensive coal fields of Nova Scotia, both in the peninsula 
and on the island of Cape Breton, have excellent iron ore within easy 
distance ; and, stimulated by the government bounties (cf. § 366) 
offered, important iron and steel works have been started at Syd- 
ney, Cape Breton (The Dominion Iron and Steel Company), and at 
other points in Nova Scotia and Ontario. The iron ore for the Syd- 
ney plant is obtained from extensive deposits in proximity to tide 
water in Newfoundland. The production of pig iron and steel is, as 
yet, comparatively small, but it is increasing rapidly. For the year 
ending March 31, 1908, the Dominion government paid to the vari- 
ous firms engaged in iron and steel production bounties amounting 
to $2,303,140, such payments being designed to assist in establishing 
manufacturing plants in Canada and to help them during the " infant 
industry" stage. Other bounties are given on the production of lead, 
crude petroleum, and binder twine, amounting in all to $371,000 in 

1 In 1912 the output by provinces, in short tons, was as follows: 

Nova Scotia 7.783,888 

British Columbia 3.208,997 

Alberta 3,240,577 

Saskatchewan 225,342 

New Brunswick 44;78o 

Yukon ((,24; 

Total 14,512,829 


The minerals coming next to coal in value of output in 191 2 
were silver, $19,440,000; nickel, $13,452,000; gold, $12,649,000; 
and copper, $12,719,000. The nickel supply of the world is confined 
largely to Canada and New Caledonia, the latter being a French 
penal colony in the South Pacific east of Australia. The nickel dis- 
trict is around Sudbury, in Ontario, and the annual output constitutes 
a large percentage of the world's product. The yield of gold has 
decreased steadily since 1900, owing to the constantly diminishing 
output of the Yukon, which was $22,275,000 in 1900 and only 
$5>549>ooo in 1912; it is stated officially that this famous gold dis- 
trict will continue to be a small producer until improvements are 
effected in treating low-pay gravels. Canada's silver output has been 
increasing rapidly, especially since the opening of the famous Cobalt 
district in northern Ontario in 1904. The yield for 1908 exceeded 
in quantity that of the previous year by over 70 per cent. If the 
present rate of increase continues, Canada will shortly become one 
of the chief silver-producing countries in the world. 

354. Fisheries and furs. The fisheries, especially those of the 
Atlantic coast, are among the largest in the world, and give employ- 
ment to nearly 90,000 men. The catch includes a great number of 
varieties, differing according to the region where the fish are taken. 
The annual value of the fisheries is over $30,000,000, those of Nova 
Scotia comprising one third of the whole amount. Cod, herring, 
lobsters, and mackerel are the principal varieties in the catch of 
that province. New Brunswick is noted for its herring fisheries and 
stands third in value of output ; the second place is taken by British 
Columbia, whose salmon fisheries are renowned. There are numer- 
ous canneries, especially in the Maritime Provinces and British 
Columbia ; about one half of the total catch is exported either frozen, 
canned, or preserved in some form, while the rest is distributed 
among local markets throughout the Dominion. 

Some of the best and most valuable furs are obtained from Canada, 
which continues to be one of the greatest fur-producing areas in the 
world. Although the fur trade has been vigorously prosecuted in 
northern Canada for two centuries or more, it is still in a prosperous 
condition ; certain animals, however, notably the beaver, otter, and 
silver fox, are becoming rare. The value of the annual export of 
furs, most of which are undressed, is about $3,800,000. 

355. Manufactures. From what already has been said it might 
be expected that Canada's principal products would be foods and 
raw materials ; and this is the case. Yet a great deal has been 


accomplished in the development of manufactures, towards which 
end American capital has played a large part. A protective tariff con- 
siderably lower than that of the United States has not been without 
influence upon many industries. The value of the output of the 
manufacturing plants has nearly doubled since the opening of the 
century. The most important lines of activity are those connected 
with the elaboration of foodstuffs, the lumbering business, textiles, 
metals, and leather. Naturally the principal manufactures are located 
in the most populous parts of the country, rather than in the newly 
settled west ; they are found mainly in southern Ontario and Quebec. 

356. Inland water ways. Canada possesses an excellent system 
of inland water ways, the central feature of which is the great com- 
mercial highway formed by the St. Lawrence River and the Great 
Lakes (§ 307). This extends over 2200 miles inland, affording 
uninterrupted means of water communication, for vessels drawing 
14 feet of water or less, from the Strait of Belle Isle to Port Arthur. 
Shipments are usually made, however, in boats specially constructed 
for the lake traffic, as far as the Welland Canal, where the cargoes 
are transferred to canal boats which meet ocean steamers at Montreal. 
It is not to be understood that this water way has always been in its 
present good condition. Nature placed many obstacles in the path of 
the navigator of this route, and these have been overcome only after 
the expenditure of millions of dollars. But this conquest of nature 
is, in a way, only partial ; for during the winter months, usually 
from the end of November to the end of April, the St. Lawrence 
is icebound and traffic is forced into other channels. This fact has 
a very important bearing upon the railway problem presently to be 
discussed (§ 357). 

Let us now examine briefly some of the improvements which 
have been effected in Canada's great natural water way. Passing 
over such matters as the placing of numerous buoys and lights, it 
should be noted that to place Montreal at the head of ocean navi- 
gation was no small task ; the St. Lawrence was extremely shallow 
at several points between Quebec and Montreal, so that vessels draw- 
ing more than 10 or 12 feet of water were unable to reach Montreal 
during a large part of the season of navigation. As early as 1826 the 
idea of deepening the channel was proposed ; but dredging operations 
did not begin until 18 years later, and they were soon abandoned. In 
185 1 the deepening -of the present channel was commenced ; by 1882 
a depth of 25 feet was reached, which has been increased to about 
30 feet at the present day. It has been proposed to continue the work 


of dredging until the minimum depth between Montreal and the sea is 
40 feet. The width of the channel is in no place less than 300 feet, 
and at points of curvature it broadens to 550 feet. Strenuous efforts 
are being made to make Montreal a first-class port in every particular. 
Over $10,000,000 have been expended, and improvements are in 
progress involving the outlay of a good deal more. The ocean-bound 
traffic passing through Montreal is increasing rapidly; 1 and this is 
due not only to the expansion of the west, but also to the diversion 
of a considerable amount of produce, chiefly wheat, from other routes 
to tide water. 

But the work which has been done between Quebec and Montreal 
is only a small part of all that was required to perfect the navigation 
of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. Canals have been con- 
structed between Montreal and Lake Superior, aggregating 73 miles 
in length, at a cost of about $70,000,000. l These are the Lachine, 
Soulanges, Cornwall, Farran's Point, Rapide Plat, Galops, Murray, 
Welland, and Sault Ste. Marie (" Soo"). A boat in passing from 
Montreal to the head of Lake Superior would have to go through 48 
locks, and the elevation thus effected would be 5 5 1 feet. 

It should be noted in passing that several projects are being con- 
sidered, which, if carried out, will be of great significance in the future 
development of the country. Of these perhaps the most important 
is the building of the Georgian Bay Canal ; the purpose of this work 
is to shorten the present water route between Lake Huron and